Thursday, August 16, 2012

Saltmarsh Morning Glory - Ipomoea sagittata



Saltmarsh morning glory (Ipomoea sagittata) is one of many showy native morning glories in Florida.  It is found nearly statewide, but concentrated in the coastal counties and absent from some of the interior ones. This is a member of the flora of the Southeast Coastal Plain and occurs in the lower tier of states from Texas to North Carolina.  Throughout this range, it is most abundant near coastal areas.
Saltmarsh morning glory is especially salt tolerant.  The plants photographed above were prospering at the edge of a saltern community with very high salt concentrations.  Although it is well suited to life in a salt marsh, this species occurs in inland habitats if the soils are wet.
Saltmarsh morning glory is a perennial that dies back to the ground in the winter if temperatures get below freezing. In spring, it rapidly spreads in all directions, its typical vining tendrils latching onto all of the adjacent vegetation and climbing upwards.  Each of its many stems may reach 6 feet or more in length.  The leaves are quite distinctive.  As the Latin name implies, they are shaped like an arrowhead.
Flowering can occur in nearly any month if temperatures remain above freezing.  Each bloom is deep pink in color with a slightly deeper pink throat - and about 3 inches across.  They may occur singly or in small clusters of 2-3. As with all members of this genus, flowers open in the morning and typically wilt by mid-day.  They attract a wide assortment of pollinators, but especially bees. Pollinated flowers form rounded seed capsules (like the ones pictured in the middle photograph) which eventually ripen to black or dark brown before splitting open.
Though very showy, I am not aware of anyone propagating this species commercially.  It is a tough species to contain in a landscape and can eventually become a nuisance.  It is easy to grow from seed, however.  Seed might be found in nearly any month. If you wish to try it, make sure you give it a fence or trellis to climb on, give it wet soil, and make sure you keep new seedlings from spreading to areas where it would not be welcome.

2 comments:

  1. I had no idea how many different types of morning glories Florida had. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We are from Kansas and are visiting South Florida. I am a biologist and I am fascinated by these plants. You said that they are not commercially availible, and though it would probably be an annual in our zone 6b native garden, I would love to grow them. Any chance of acquiring some seeds?

    ReplyDelete

Please let me know if this site and the various postings have been useful to you.