morning glory

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morning glory,

common name for members of the Convolvulaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and small trees (many of them climbing forms) inhabiting warm regions, especially the tropics of America and Asia. The family is characterized by milky sap. The largest groups are the predominantly tropical morning-glory genus (Ipomoea), with species most abundant in Mexico, and the bindweed genus (Convolvulus) of more temperate regions. Many bindweeds are also called morning glory. Species of both are chiefly herbaceous vines of prolific growth and with colorful funnel-shaped blossoms that often open only in the morning. I. purpurea is the morning glory cultivated as an ornamental in North America. The moonflowers (including I. alba), tropical American night-blooming vines, have similarly shaped but much larger blossoms, often heavily fragrant. Convolvulus scammonia is the scammony of Asia Minor; a resin exuded from its roots is exported from Aleppo and Smyrna as a medicine. The most important commercial plant of the family, the sweet potatosweet potato,
trailing perennial plant (Ipomoea batatas) of the family Convolvulaceae (morning glory family), native to the New World tropics. Cultivated from ancient times by the Aztecs for its edible tubers, it was introduced into Europe in the 16th cent.
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, belongs to the morning-glory genus. The wild sweet potato or potato vine (I. pandurata), a common weed of North America, is not eaten. The dodders (genus Cuscuta, formerly classified as a separate family) are common leafless, parasitic vines that often resemble bright orange threads. Each of the widely distributed species parasitizes a specific host; C. epilinum, for example, lives on flax. The morning-glory family is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Solanales.

Morning Glory


(Convolvulaceae), a family of dicotyledonous plants. The plants of this family may be herbs, semishrubs, shrubs, or, rarely, small trees; many are climbers. The blossoms are often large, growing singly or in racemes; they are usually bisexual and pentamerous (rarely tetramerous). The corolla is gamopetalous, regular, and either slightly five-lobed or entire; it is funnel-shaped or, less often, tubular or bell-shaped. The gynaecium is superior. The fruit is a pod and, rarely, nutlike. There are more than 50 genera (1,500 species), found mainly in the tropics and sub-tropics of both hemispheres. The plants that are economically important are the sweet potato and the jalap. In the USSR there are about 40 species, belonging to the genera Cresset, Ipomoea, bindweed, and Calystegia. In the southern USSR tropical plants of the genus Pharbitis are cultivated in orchards for decorative purposes.


Grigor’ev, lu. S. “V’iunkovye.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 19. Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
Takhtadzhian, A. L. Sistema i filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.


morning glory

symbol of affectation; flower of September. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 175; Kunz, 330]