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Morning Glory - Heavenly Blue

Ipomoea tricolor


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.

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Ron Kushner
Ron Kushner 7 years ago

Thanks Lynn.

I'd like to offer what I think may be some aspects important to think about for every single member of this site.

There is a difference between a photo gallery and a scientific reference database, although they are not necessarily mutually exclusive of each other.

The majority of people posting photos on the web are casually taking pretty photos for generally what they see as fun 'artistic' purposes , are looking for people to often butter them up and say only 'positive' ego supporting comments like telling them how Beautiful their photos are and that can be absolutely Wonderful (!)

The viewers who may offer photographic technique tips may or may not always be received as positive.
I've seen where some posters will say "Hey,Thanks for the tips" or 'Who are you, Joe photographer (!) , do you think I'm an idiot" and so on and so forth...but , generally photo galleries are mainly to simply display the photos and perhaps gather some 'artistic' type of feedback.

Photos for a botanical reference site are not just a photo gallery (where scientific discussion may not be warranted or welcomed) , because the science related sites are supposed to serve as a scientific reference, consequently critiques related to whether the photo shows relevant identification parts clearly enough , or at all , are totally in order and should not be condemned as sacrilegious offense to the artistic intent of the photographer.

The photos that might be seen as having tremendous artistic value , may not make the best reference photos when it comes to focusing on the plant parts that are critical to a botanical identification.

I started out as a gardener and quickly learned that Art is a Science and that all forms of Science are Art.

The frontal views of the flowers are beautiful and so also can be Beautiful are the other plant parts which not only have some interesting details , especially via macro photography , but they also happen to be varyingly critical to species identification (and that is not a 'sinful' concept)

There is a tendency to view sugary compliments as 'good' and any dissenting views as 'bad' and that is an insidious form of serious suicidal poison and both scientists and artists should welcome constructive criticism (in whatever form it may come to us) because what is in our heart of hearts (which is where our only True Treasure resides) is much more important than any 'masks' that we wear to hide behind , because when the heat is applied to our masks , they fail us by melting and we all begin to exceptions to any of the human race because there aren't any perfect people in this world.

There are many dimensions for all of us to discover and very enjoyable to explore if we can do our best to get beyond our personal 'tunnel vision' type of limitations...

Please continue to enjoy your photography and to whatever places (inside yourself or otherwise that) it may take you...

The MnMs
The MnMs 7 years ago

Pretty flower, freelynn, thanks for sharing! :-)

Lynn Cremona
Lynn Cremona 7 years ago

Hello Ron,

Got it!
Thank you for the fine points for differentiating between the two.
The reason for my asking is always to learn not to challenge.

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 7 years ago

I love that fading white effect, Ipomoeas I see around me are just blue.

vivianpoma 7 years ago

wonderful colored

Ron Kushner
Ron Kushner 7 years ago

Hi Lynn,

The references almost always leave out important details that someone who has been intimate with these plants for over 4.5 decades would automatically know...

Ipomoea tricolor always has yellow in it's is a recognized feature of everything in the entire tricolor series which includes Ipomoea parasitica and Ipomoea cardiophylla...they always have yellow in the tube.

Here are links to the PlantFiles at Davesgarden for both Ipomoea tricolor and Ipomoea purpurea.

Look at them and tell me which species your photo more closely resembles.

Ipomoea tricolor

Ipomoea purpurea

You see, your photo doesn't have enough resolution to do a very quick and super accurate determination or for you to assess to your satisfaction the aspects you mentioned ..
I could save it and enlarge and process it so that you might be able to feel better about what you were looking at...but the key is you have to know what to look for...if you know what to look for after 4.5 decades you would be able to tell (like I can) even from a low resolution photo...the relevant features just jump out like they were in high definition...

I can offer you an assessment and an can freely accept or reject can retain the ID of Ipomoea purpurea (Although to an experienced eye, it is obvious what the species is).

I won't feel bad, because I am on record as stating it is Ipomoea tricolor...and I'm quite happy with that...

I hope that something I shared might be of some value to you...



Lynn Cremona
Lynn Cremona 7 years ago

Hello Ron,
Thank you for your comment.
How can we differentiate my photo between Ipomoea tricolor and Ipomoea purpurea? Since reading your comment, I have done a bit of research, and it seems that the differences are resolved not by the flower color but by the leaves (hairy or smooth) the pedicel shape and length, and the shape of the seeds.

Ron Kushner
Ron Kushner 7 years ago

This is Ipomoea tricolor cultivar "Heavenly Blue"

Lynn Cremona
Spotted by
Lynn Cremona

Neptune Township, New Jersey, USA

Spotted on Jul 19, 2004
Submitted on Aug 13, 2013


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