Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ipomoea purpurea - Tall Morning Glory

Florida is home to a great many native species of morning glories. The vast majority occur within the genus, Ipomoea and a few somewhat aggressive non-natives. As morning glories are much beloved landscape plants, some of the introduced species have wide distributions. Tall morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) is one of those. I have not seen this species in "the wild", but it has been added to home landscapes in much of Florida. The photos above were taken of plants that I found growing on the north fence in the backyard of my new home in Pasco County. It has been vouchered growing in natural areas from only six counties distributed in north and central Florida, but I suspect it is more widely distributed than this. A check of the USDA database shows that it is reported as introduced in all but two of the Lower 48 states in North America and in Ontario and Quebec in Canada. I rarely have included non-native plants within this blog, but I have made an exception here for this species just to make clear that it is not a native Florida (or North American) species.

Tall morning glory is an apt common name for this species as it is an especially vigorous grower.  The plants in my new backyard have spread into the upper canopy of all my neighbor's trees and across the vacant lot behind me on the ground.  The first time that I mowed my new yard, I beheaded countless stems that had been rambling across it.  Since that time, I have confined mostly to one fence and it provides about the only nectar/pollen in my landscape right now. It's value to that effect is shown in the top photo of a Southeastern blueberry bee.

Tall morning glory has beautiful sky blue flowers that are produced year round unless there is a hard freeze. It is extremely easy to grow and not especially fussy about growing conditions. It's heart-shaped leaves also are attractive , though the target of various small insect pests.

If you contemplate adding a morning glory to your fence, there are perhaps better, native, species that would be better choices.

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