Ipomoea hederifolia: Scarlet morning glory

Family: Convolvulaceae
Common name: Scarlet morning glory, Scarlet creeper, Scarlet ipomoea

Scarlet morning glory flowers are a joy to see in vacant lots and roadsides; but are rarely grown in gardens. They are obsessives climbers, latching onto nearby plants, trees or structures, and forming a mat of red flowers over them.

They can grow to a height of 10-15 feet, climbing with their tendrils. If they cannot find any structure to climb onto, they form a mat over the grass or undergrowth. The stems are smooth and twining with occasional nodes, from where the leaves and flowers grow out.

Scarlet morning glory leaves are heart-shaped, sometime with three lobes, and serrated edges. Flowers are the crowing glory of this plant, deep-red, tubular at the base with bell-shaped fused petals. Like most morning glory flowers, they have origami-folds on the petals. Scarlet morning glory flowers have a yellow throat and prominent white stamens that stand above the petals.

The flowers are raised on long stalks that are about 1-2 inches long, raising the flower high above the carpet of green leaves. Scarlet morning glory plants are considered an invasive species in many part of the world because of their ability to grow rapidly over surrounding vegetation, produce flowers and seeds prodigiously, and produce new plants dominating an area.

They attract birds and bees with their nectar, aiding in their pollination and that of surrounding plants. The seeds pods are small and round, initially green and turning brown when mature. They contain small seeds which can germinate when they fall on the ground.

Propagation is through seeds.

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