Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth  
Family: Convolvulaceae
tall morning-glory,  more...
[Convolvulus purpureus L.,  more]
Ipomoea purpurea image
Patrick Alexander  
Plant: Annual twining vine, loosely pubescent to tomentose with short, appressed retrorse trichomes, and often with large spreading trichomes which may reach 4 mm long; stems twining, branched to simple Leaves: ovate, entire to 5-lobed, 1-11 cm long, 1-12 cm wide, the base cordate, the apex acute to acuminate, rarely obtuse, mucronate, the petioles 1-14 cm long INFLORESCENCE: (1-)2-5-flowered cymes; bracts linear to lanceolate, 1.3-9 mm long Flowers: pedicels 5-16 mm long, erect in flower, reflexed and enlarged in fruit, reaching 25 mm long; bracteoles similar to bracts, 4.5 mm long; sepals 8-15 mm long, the outer sepals narrowly ovate-lanceolate to elliptic, (1.5-)2.5-4.5 mm wide, acute to abruptly acuminate apically, more pubescent near base, the inner sepals ovate-lanceolate, 2.5-3 mm wide, acute to abruptly acuminate; corollas funnelform, 2.5-4.3(-5) cm long, blue (white to purple in cultivated plants), white within the tube, glabrous, the limb 2.4-4.8(-7) cm wide; stamens 8-10(-14) mm long, the anthers 1.5-2(-3) mm long; ovary ovoid to conic, 1.5-2 mm long, 3-locular, glabrous; style 14-22(-30) mm long; stigmas 3, globose Fruit: FRUITS globose to ovoid, 7-8(-10) mm wide, 6-valvate, the apiculum 2-4 mm long. SEEDS 3-6, 4-5 mm long, ovoid, black to dark brown, finely tomentose Misc: Disturbed sites and in cultivation; 300-2300 m (1000-7500 ft); Jul-Nov REFERENCES: Austin, Daniel F. 1998. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Convolvulaceae 30(2): 61.
Annual vine up to 5 m long Stem: twining and climbing very high, hairy, and if cut or broken then exuding a milky sap. Leaves: alternate, long-stalked, non-toothed, hairless or sparsely hairy, 5 - 15 cm long, broadly heart-shaped with a short pointed tip (rarely a few leaves with two or three lobes). Flowers: many, axillary, singly on long stalks (about equal to leaf stalk) or up to five in a stalked umbel-like cluster, usually blue or purple, sometimes white with blue or purple streaks, showy, 4 - 7 cm long, radially symmetric, funnel-shaped or somewhat trumpet-shaped. Sepals: five, conspicuously hairy below middle, 0.6 - 1.5 cm long, lance-shaped to narrowly egg-shaped, widest at base with pointed tip (sometimes long-pointed). Petals: five, but fused into a tube or funnel with flaring or spreading limb, which may be shallowly five-lobed or merely wavy along edges. Stamens: five, attached to inside base of petal tube, not extending beyond petal tube. Pistil: with one, three-chambered, superior ovary; a single style shorter than the petal tube; and one stigma with three small, rounded lobes. Fruit: stalked, two- to four-valved, one- to three-chambered, rounded capsules with two seeds per chamber.

Similar species: Ipomoea purpurea is most similar to I. hederacea, except that species usually has three-lobed leaves, and the sepals exceed 1.5 cm long and have very long, linear, pointed and recurved tips. Other species of Ipomoea in our area have hairless sepals (or sometimes with a few bristles on the edges), white flowers (or some with purple or red coloring in the throat), and only two-lobed stigmas.

Flowering: August to October

Habitat and ecology: Introduced from tropical America as an ornamental, somewhat common as a weed of cultivated lands and also in waste ground.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Notes: This species is the commonly planted garden morning glory.

Etymology: Ipomoea comes from the Greek word meaning worm-like, possibly referring to the twining and twisting stems, or the twisted flower buds. Purpurea means purple.

Author: The Field Museum

Ipomoea purpurea image
Patrick Alexander  
Ipomoea purpurea image
Patrick Alexander  
Ipomoea purpurea image
Patrick Alexander  
Ipomoea purpurea image
Patrick Alexander  
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