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An annual or perennial twining liana growing to 2–4 m (7–13 ft) tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, 3–7 cm long with a 1.5–6 cm long petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 4–9 cm (2–4 in) in diameter, most commonly blue with a white to golden yellow center (hence the name tricolor). Re. Ipomoeas in general: Very large genus of more than 500 species. From the Greek (ipos), meaning "worm" or "bindweed," and όμοιος (homoios), meaning "resembling". Ipomoea refers to their twining habit. Through its twining stems, Common Morning Glory can climb fences and adjacent vegetation; in open areas, it sprawls across the ground in all directions. The slender stems are terete, light green to brown, slightly to moderately pubescent, and non-woody. At intervals along each stem, there are alternate leaves. The leaf blades are up to 4" long and 3½" across; they are cordate to cordate-orbicular, smooth along their margins, and nearly hairless along their upper surfaces. The slender petioles are nearly as long as the blades; like the stems, they are light green to brown and slightly to moderately pubescent. Cymes of 1-5 flowers occur at the axils of some leaves. The pedicels of the flowers are up to 4" long. Each flower is 2–3½" across and about as long; it consists of a funnelform corolla, 5 sepals, a pistil with a single style, and 5 stamens. The corolla is purple, blue, pink, white, or a variegated combination of colors. The light green sepals are oblong-lanceolate and much smaller than the corolla; they are hairy toward the bottom of the flower. At the apex of the style is a knobby tripartite stigma. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to fall and lasts 2-3 months. Each flower blooms once during the morning and lasts only a single day. Each flower is replaced by a globoid seed capsule about 1/3" across that is hairless. The large seeds are dark-colored and wedge-shaped. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
Most morning glory flowers unravel into full bloom in the early morning. The flowers usually start to fade a few hours before the "petals" start showing visible curling. They prefer full solar exposure throughout the day, and a moderate or well-balanced supply of moisture soils.
Many herbivores avoid morning glories such as Ipomoea, as the high alkaloid content makes these plants unpalatable, if not toxic. Morning Glories are food plants for the caterpillars of certain Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths). Morning glory was first known in China for its medicinal uses, due to the laxative properties of its seeds. The sulfur in the morning glory's juice served to vulcanize the rubber, a process predating Charles Goodyear's discovery by at least 3,000 years.
Spotted on Jul 19, 2004
Submitted on Aug 13, 2013
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