Ipomoea hederacea 

Ivy-leaf Morning Glory - Ipomoea hederacea 
Bloodgood Spring Area
Near Kingston, New Mexico

On a recent (September 2014) walk into the Bloodgood Spring and Homesite we found this Ivy-leaf Morning Glory, Ipomoea hederacea.  It is also called Ivy-leaved Morning Glory.  This species is very similar to I. purpurea which has been domesticated widely and is a native of Mexico and Central America.  The range of the two species overlaps.  The "abruptly elongate sepals", a useful characteristic in distinguishing the two species is visible in these photographs.

The range of Ivy-leaf Morning Glory extends from the eastern United States and Canada into New Mexico and Arizona.  

Most, as high as 93% in some populations, Ivy-leaf Morning Glory plants self-pollinate.  The character displacement which occurs in this species has been studied aggressively.  Of particular interest to me is the placement of the anthers and stigma in the flower of this species when the closely related Ipomoea purpurea is found nearby.  Ipomoea purpurea pollen will pollinate a Ipomoea hederacea flower (producing sterile seed) but not the other way around.  Where the two species are found together the stigmas of the Ipomoea hederacea are closely grouped around the anther, increasing the chances of self-pollination (and  decreasing the chances of pollination from another flower).  Where the two species are not found together the stigmas of the Ipomoea hederacea are much less tightly bound around the stigma, increasing the possibility of pollination from another flower.

This species was first described by Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin in 1787.  Between 1755 and 1759 he collected plants extensively in the West Indies and Central America.  He was an academic with interests in Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Botany.  Of interest to some is the fact that Mozart was a family friend.  For instance the Kegelstatt Trio was first played at the Jacquins' house in August 1786.

Many individuals argue that Ipomoea species are weeds because of their tenacity and aggressive growth.  Luckily we live in a stream bed with rock and sand for soil and nothing is tenacious or aggressive - just strikingly beautiful.


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© Robert Barnes 2018