Saturday, May 26, 2018

Man-in-the-Ground - Ipomoea microdactyla

Man-in-the-ground (Ipomoea microdactyla) is one of the most striking of our native morning glories and one of the rarest. It is currently only known from pine rockland habitats in Miami-Dade County and is listed as a state endangered species. It also occurs on Puerto Rico.

Man-in-the-ground is so named (and the Latin name implies it also) because the large tuberous root has small finger-like projections.  Like all members of this genus, it is a sprawling vine that ranges many feet out from the central core. The ovate leaves can be entire or palmately lobed. Each is 3-4 inches in length.  What separates this species most obviously from our other nearly 2 dozen species is the rich carmine-pink color of the blooms. The deeply tubular flowers are about 1 1/2 inches wide and many buds are produced along the stems and can be open at any one time. Flowers are possible during most months from spring to early winter. They are visited by a variety of pollinating insects.

Despite its showiness, this species is not generally cultivated by any of the nurseries associated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. It is sometimes available from other south Florida hobbiests. If you find a specimen from someone (collected legally, of course), give it lots of room to ramble, full sun, and average soil. I do not know if it requires soils with high pH, but that is the habitat is occurs naturally in.

1 comment:

  1. I have one that I got from Wilcox nursery. It dies back and then comes to life again. I love it. It died in a pot so I pulled it and put it in my "plant graveyard" then it came back so I planted it in the ground against a wall with a trellis and it's living its best life now. :)


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