Journal archives for July 2022

July 02, 2022

Going for Morning Glory! - July-August EcoQuest

The theme for our July-August EcoQuest is Convolvulaceae, otherwise known as the morning glory family! This family of plants has over 1,600 species spread across 59 genera that include trees, shrubs, and herbs as well as the vines that most of us are familiar with. A surprising member of this plant family is the sweet potato, which isn’t very closely related to potatoes, which are in the nightshade family Solanaceae!

A characteristic trait of the Convolvulaceae family is the flower shape; more specifically the corolla. Corolla is the collective name for the petals on a flower. The flowers of this family are funnel-shaped, and most of the individual parts are in multiples of five. Ipomoea is the largest genus in this family and hosts the morning glory species that are a common sight in many gardens and natural areas.

Morning glories can have a massive variety in flower size and color but all have the distinct pentagonal shape. From the five angled dodder vine Cuscuta pentagona on the left, to the beautiful goat's foot morning glory Ipomoea pes carprae in the center, and even the delicate and endangered calcareous morning glory Ipomoea microdactyla all morning glories carry their distinct flower shape.

In Florida alone, there are 43 native species, along with 27 non-native species, in the Convolvulaceae family. These include morning glories, bindweeds, dawnflower, and dodders. Twenty-six of these species have been recorded in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Only four of them are non-native:
Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica)
Mile-a-minute vine (Ipomoea cairica)
Bush morning glory (Ipomoea carnea spp. fistulosa)
Cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit)

Some of our more common native varieties that you may be familiar with include:
Railroad Vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae)
Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
Ocean Blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica)
Tievine (Ipomoea-cordatotriloba)

A vibrant ocean blue morning glory, Ipomoea indica exhibiting a variety of leaf structures.

Water spinach is a commonly grown green originating in Asia, and bush morning glory has only been documented in five counties in the state of Florida, one of which is Manatee County. Of our native species, only one is endangered: scrub morning glory (Bonamia grandiflora). This species is endemic to the state and is only found in central Florida. It prefers sandy scrub habitat and can resprout after fires, which it also needs to maintain a suitable habitat. Threats to Bonamia grandiflora are the same ones that threaten many scrub species, including urban development, citrus growing, and reduction of fire ecology and fire regimes in native areas.

Generally speaking, members of this family can be found in many different habitats ranging from inland scrub to coastal sand dunes and wetlands alike. These plants bloom throughout the warmer seasons in Florida, so it’s safe to say you’ll know them when you see them! Some exceptions, like moonflower or scrub morning glory, only bloom at certain times of day, so be sure to check back if they aren’t flowering when you see them.

Beach morning glory, Ipomea imperati in flower after a morning storm.

Upcoming Bioblitzes
If you want to know more about the complexities of Convolvulaceae, please join us on the following dates:

Pinecraft Park (7/21/22):

Duette Preserve (7/27/22):

Crowley Museum (8/16/22):

Beker Wingate Preserve (8/25/22):

If you want to see how glorious your observations have been this month check out the Going for Morning Glory Ecoquest here!

Also a big congratulations to our winners of the Mustard Madness Ecoquest with ceherzog in first followed by crowleymuseumandnaturecenter in second and Stanshebs and ChaseyB tied for fourth!

Posted on July 02, 2022 03:53 AM by sarasota_manatee_ecoflora_sean sarasota_manatee_ecoflora_sean | 0 comments | Leave a comment