Family Profile: The Convolvulaceae

By Michelle Remogat and Alana Walker

Figure 1. Ipomoea pes-caprae ssp. brasiliensis, railroad vine,
has nectar guides to direct its pollinators. Photo by B. Navez.
This post is one of a series from professor Nisse Goldberg's Plant Taxonomy students at Jacksonville University. FNPS blogger Laurie Sheldon assisted the students with their initial drafts, providing suggestions for editing and content development.

Leaves: Simple; sometimes lobed or compound
Fruit: capsule
Flower: actinomorphic, funnel-shaped corolla

The Convolvulacaeae family is known as the Bindweed or Morning Glory family and is found primarily in the tropics and subtropics, but has become cosmopolitan. The family takes its name after the genus Ipomoea (Figure 1), but another 14 genera are also found in the state. In Florida, the family is home to 40 native and 27 non-native species (including varieties and subspecies). The state-listed endangered Bonamia grandiflora or Florida lady’s nightcap (Figure 2) is a member of this family.

Figure 2. The state-listed endangered Bonamia grandiflora,
Florida’s lady nightcap. Photo by Scott Zona.
You can recognize the Convolvulaceae by their trumpet-shaped flowers and many have a twining herbaceous habit. Nectar guides serve to direct pollinators such as hummingbirds and insects to nectar (Figure 1).

Fun Facts!
  • Ipomoea batatas (Figure 3) is the popular sweet potato.
  • Ipomoea aquatica, water spinach, is eaten in many Asian cultures; in the U.S., it is a federally listed noxious weed.
  • Many species are used for medicinal purposes.
      Figure 3. Ipomoea batatas, sweet potato

      Image Sources


      drew said…
      Thanks for the post and fun facts! Your photos are great!
      Gladly! Thanks for the compliment!

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