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An unopened spiral bud of a morning glory flower
"Blue Star" variety photographed in Haverhill, Massachusetts

Morning glory is a common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae, whose current taxonomy and systematics is in flux. Morning glory species belong to many genera, some of which being:


The flower usually lasts for a single morning and dies in the afternoon. On a cloudy day, the flower may last until night. New flowers bloom each day. The flowers usually start to fade a couple of hours before the petals start showing visible curling. They prefer full sun throughout the day and mesic soils. Some morning glories, such as Ipomoea muricata, are night blooming flowers.

In some places such as Australian bushland, morning glories develop thick roots and tend to grow in dense thickets. They can quickly spread by way of long creeping stems. By crowding out, blanketing and smothering other plants, morning glory has turned into a serious invasive weed problem.


In cultivation, most are treated as perennial plants in frost-free areas and as annual plants in colder climates, but some species tolerate winter cold. There are some species which are strictly annual (eg. I. nil), producing many seeds, and some perennial species (eg. I. indica) which are propagated by cuttings. Some moonflowers, which flower at night, are also in the morning glory family.

Because of their fast growth, twining habit, attractive flowers, and tolerance for poor, dry soils, some morning glories are excellent vines for creating summer shade on building walls when trellised, thus keeping the building cooler and reducing heating and cooling costs.

Popular varieties in contemporary western cultivation include 'Sunspots', 'Heavenly Blue', the moonflower, the cypress vine, and the cardinal climber. The cypress vine is a hybrid, with the cardinal climber as one parent.


Morning glory was first known in Chinamarker for its medicinal uses, due to the laxative properties of its seeds.

It was introduced to the Japanesemarker in the 9th century, and they were first to cultivate it as an ornament. A rare brownish-coloured variant known as Danjuro is very popular. During the Edo Period, it became a very popular ornamental flower.

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations used the morning glory species Ipomoea alba to convert the latex from the Castilla elastica tree and also the guayule plant to produce bouncing rubber balls . The sulfur in the morning glory's juice served to vulcanize the rubber, a process pre-dating Charles Goodyear's discovery by at least 3,000 years. Aztec priests in Mexicomarker were also known to use the plant's hallucinogenic properties. (see Rivea corymbosa)..

Culinary uses

Ipomoea aquatica, known as water spinach , water morning-glory, water convolvulus, Ong-Choy, Kang-kung, or swamp cabbage, is popularly used as a green vegetable especially in East and Southeast Asian cuisines. It is a Federal Noxious Weed, however, and technically it is illegal to grow, import, possess, or sell within the USA. See: USDA weed factsheet. As of 2005, the state of Texas has acknowledged that water spinach is a highly prized vegetable in many cultures and has allowed water spinach to be grown for personal consumption. This is in part because water spinach is known to have been grown in Texas for more than fifteen years and has not yet escaped cultivation. The fact that it goes by so many names means that it easily slips through import inspections, and it is often available in Asian or specialty produce markets


The seeds of many species of morning glory contain ergot alkaloids such as the hallucinogenic ergonovine and ergine (LSA). Seeds of I. tricolor and T. corymbosa (syn. R. corymbosa) are used as psychedelic. The seeds can produce a similar effect to LSD when taken in the hundreds. Though the chemical LSA is illegal to possess in pure form, the seeds are found in many gardening stores; however, the seeds from commercial sources are often coated in some form of pesticide or methylmercury to retard spoilage - these coatings are especially dangerous if you have a history of liver disorders and may also cause neurological damage. Also, the active ingredient LSA has, in animal models, produced uterine contractions, which could possibly induce a miscarriage.


Image:blue2glories.jpg|Blue Morning GloriesImage:Ipomoea purpurea 2400px.jpg|A fully open blue and purple morning gloryImage:Pink_Morning_Glory_2500px.jpg|A fully open pink morning gloryImage:Morning Glory Curled Side 1800px.jpg|Side view of a partially curled Ipomoea purpurea in early afternoonImage:Morning Glory Curled Top 2250px.jpg|The top of partially curled Ipomoea purpurea in early afternoonImage:Morning Glory Leaves 3284px.jpg|The leaves of a morning gloryImage:Blue Morning Glory.jpg|Opening Blue Morning GloryImage:BlueMorningGloryClose.jpg|Close-up of a morning glory flowerImage:MorningGlory5.jpg|Close-up of a Morning GloryImage:HeavenlyBlueMorningGlory.JPG|Heavenly Blue morning gloryImage:MorningGlory.JPG|Morning Glory vine climbing



External links

Further reading

  • ISBN 0-89672-614-2
  • Peter Furst, Flesh of the Gods, 1990 ISBN978-0881334777

  • Schultes, Richard Evans (1976).
  • Hallucinogenic Plants. illus.
  • Elmer W.
  • Smith.
  • New York: Golden Press.
  • ISBN 0-307-24362-

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