Ipomoea lacunosa: White morning glory

Family: Convolvulaceae
Common name: White morning glory, Whitestar, Pitted morning glory

The Ipomoea family has got a set of ‘morning glories’ in vivid colors like white, pink, purple, red, yellow and other combinations of these colors. They are from the same family as sweet potatoes, and behave pretty much the same. White morning glory plants have hairy, long, twining stems that can grow up to 2 meters long, producing flowers, fruits and seeds for a season before withering away.

In India, these plants are seen mostly in vacant lots and roadsides, climbing on other trees and bushes, with brilliant white flowers all along the plant. Though the plants die after one season, the seeds can lie dormant in the soil, till appropriate sprouting conditions arise for them to grow into a new plant again.

White morning glory leaves are heart-shaped, and grows thickly throughout the stem. The flowers vary from white, to light yellow to pink. Some flowers have beautiful yellow markings on the center of the petals. They are tubular with 5 petals merged in the center. The white stigma and style really stand out, in the beautiful red throat of the flowers. White morning glory flowers contain nectar, attracting butterflies, birds and bees.

The flowers later form spherical, hairy seed pods that contain shiny black or brown seeds. Some types of White morning glory plants produce tubers that are eaten in parts of the world. The roots, stem and flowers are used in making tea, laxatives and wine, but they are toxic and should be managed with care.

Propagation is from seeds.

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