Sunday, January 3, 2010

Scrub Morning Glory - Bonamia grandiflora

Scrub morning glory (Bonamia grandiflora) is one of Florida's most beautiful wildflowers and one of the rarest.  It is a federally listed threatened species and a state listed endangered one.  Endemic to Florida, it is restricted to the deep sandy scrub regions of central Florida; most commonly in the Lakes Wales Ridge, but also in scrubs along the west-central coast and in Ocala National Forest. 
Scrub morning glory is a sprawling deciduous and herbaceous vine, that arises each spring from a woody root mass.  Multiple leaders are produced and extend in various directions across the open sandy soil surface.  Each vine may reach more than 4 feet long by the time flowering is initiated in May.  The leaves are arrow-shaped, blue-green in color and often point upwards towards the sky.
Blooming begins in May and can last through August.  Individual flowers are produced along the stem and last for only one morning.  The flowers are quite large (up to 4 inches long and nearly 3 inches across) and are a spectacular shade of light blue.  They are visited by a wide assortment of insect pollinators before they close up in late morning.  The seed capsules ripen more than a month later, split, and release the 4 large seeds.
Scrub morning glory requires open sunny areas and deep well-drained sands to survive.  It does not occur in scrub that is overgrown and it responds quickly to fire and disturbances that open the habitat up.  Given these conditions, it is rather easy to grow and we have maintained it in our landscape at Hawthorn Hill for many years.  We have propagated it from seed with good success and have even had seedlings develop from seed dispersed by the parent plants.
Currently, we do not intend to propagate scrub morning glory for sale at Hawthorn Hill, but it would be easy to do if there was interest.  Let us know - but make sure first that you can give it the growing conditions it needs.


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