"Ipomoea" is also a novel by John Rackham, published by Ace Books in 1969.
Ipomoea carnea, called canudo-de-pita in Brazil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Convolvulaceae
Tribe: Ipomoeeae
Genus: Ipomoea
L. 1753[1]

More than 500, see text


Acmostemon Pilg.
Batatas Choisy
Bonanox Raf.
Calonyction Choisy
Calycantherum Klotzsch
Diatremis Raf.
Dimerodisus Gagnep.
Exogonium Choisy
Mina Cerv.
Parasitipomoea Hayata
Pharbitis Choisy
Quamoclit Mill.
Quamoclit Moench[1]

Ipomoea (/ˌɪpəˈmə, -p-/[2][3]) is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Convolvulaceae, with over 500 species. It is a large and diverse group with common names including morning glory, water convolvulus or kangkung, sweet potato, bindweed, moonflower, etc.

The most widespread common name is morning glories, but there are also species in related genera bearing the same common name. Those formerly separated in Calonyction (Greek καλός, kalos, good and νύκτα, nycta, night) are called moonflowers. The generic name is derived from the Greek words ιπς (ips) or ιπος (ipos), meaning "worm" or "bindweed," and όμοιος (homoios), meaning "resembling". It refers to their twining habit.[4] The genus occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and comprises annual and perennial herbaceous plants, lianas, shrubs and small trees; most of the species are twining climbing plants.

Uses and ecology

Whitestar potato, Ipomoea lacunosa

Human use of Ipomoea include:

My pistol may snap, my mojo is frail
But I rub my root, my luck will never fail
When I rub my root, my John the Conquer root
Aww, you know there ain't nothin' she can do, Lord,
I rub my John the Conquer root

As medicine and entheogen

Ergine (D-lysergic acid amide)
Ergonovine (ergometrine)

Humans use Ipomoea for their content of medical and psychoactive compounds, mainly alkaloids. Some species are renowned for their properties in folk medicine and herbalism; for example Vera Cruz jalap (I. jalapa) and Tampico jalap (I. simulans) are used to produce jalap, a cathartic preparation accelerating the passage of stool. Kiribadu Ala (giant potato, I. mauritiana) is one of the many ingredients of chyawanprash, the ancient Ayurvedic tonic called "the elixir of life" for its wide-ranging properties.

The leaves of I. batatas are eaten as a vegetable, and have been shown to slow oxygenation of LDLs, with some similar potential health benefits to green tea and grape polyphenols.[6]

Other species were and still are used as potent entheogens. Seeds of Mexican morning glory (tlitliltzin, I. tricolor) were thus used by Aztecs and Zapotecs in shamanistic and priestly divination rituals, and at least by the former also as a poison, to give the victim a "horror trip" (see also Aztec entheogenic complex). Beach moonflower (I. violacea) was also used thus, and the cultivars called 'Heavenly Blue Morning Glory', touted today for their psychoactive properties, seem to represent an indeterminable assembly of hybrids of these two species.

Ergoline derivatives (lysergamides) are probably responsible for the entheogenic activity. Ergine (LSA), isoergine, D-lysergic acid N-(α-hydroxyethyl)amide and lysergol have been isolated from I. tricolor, I. violacea and/or purple morning glory (I. purpurea); although these are often assumed to be the cause of the plants' effects, this is not supported by scientific studies, which show although they are psychoactive, they are not notably hallucinogenic. Alexander Shulgin in TiHKAL suggests ergonovine is responsible, instead. It has verified psychoactive properties, though as yet other undiscovered lysergamides possibly are present in the seeds.

Though most often noted as "recreational" drugs, the lysergamides are also of medical importance. Ergonovine enhances the action of oxytocin, used to still post partum bleeding. Ergine induces drowsiness and a relaxed state and might be useful in treating anxiety disorder. Whether Ipomoea species are a useful source of these compounds remains to be determined. In any case, in some jurisdictions certain Ipomoea are regulated, e.g. by the Louisiana State Act 159 which bans cultivation of I. violacea except for ornamental purposes.

Pests and diseases

Many herbivores avoid morning glories such as Ipomoea, as the high alkaloid content makes these plants unpalatable, if not toxic. Nonetheless, Ipomoea species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of certain Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths); see list of Lepidoptera which feed on Ipomoea. For a selection of diseases of the sweet potato (I. batatas), many of which also infect other members of this genus, see List of sweet potato diseases.

Selected species

  • Ipomoea abrupta R.Br.
  • Ipomoea alba L. – moon vine
  • Ipomoea alpina Rendle
  • Ipomoea amnicola Morong – red-center morning glory
  • Ipomoea aquatica Forssk. – water spinach, water morning glory, water convolvulus, "Chinese spinach", "swamp cabbage"
  • Ipomoea aristolochiaefolia
  • Ipomoea asarifolia
  • Ipomoea barbatisepala A.Gray
  • Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. – sweet potato, "tuberous morning glory"
  • Ipomoea batatoides Benth.
  • Ipomoea bona-nox
  • Ipomoea cairica – Coast morning glory, Cairo morning glory, mile-a-minute vine, Messina creeper, railroad creeper
  • Ipomoea calobra F.Muell.
  • Ipomoea capillacea (Kunth) G.Don
  • Ipomoea carnea – pink morning glory, canudo-de-pita (Brazil)
  • Ipomoea coccinea – red morning glory, redstar, Mexican morning glory
  • Ipomoea cordatotriloba L. – little violet morning glory
    • Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. torreyana – purple bindweed
  • Ipomoea cordifolia Carey ex Voight – heart-leaved morning glory
  • Ipomoea costata – rock morning glory, bush potato
  • Ipomoea costellata Torr. – crest-ribbed morning glory
  • Ipomoea cristulata Hallier f. – trans-Pecos morning glory
  • Ipomoea cynanchifolia (Meisn.) Mart.
  • Ipomoea daturaefolia Meisn.
  • Ipomoea demerariana Choisy (= I. phyllomega)
  • Ipomoea diversifolia R.Br.
  • Ipomoea dumetorum Willd. ex Roemer & J.A.Schultes – railwaycreeper
  • Ipomoea eggersiana Peter
  • Ipomoea eggersii (House) D.Austin – Egger's morning glory
  • Ipomoea eriocarpa R.Br.
  • Ipomoea ghika
  • Ipomoea gracilis R.Br.
  • Ipomoea graminea R.Br.
  • Ipomoea halierca
  • Ipomoea hederacea – ivy-leaved morning glory
  • Ipomoea hederifolia – scarlet morning glory, scarlet creeper, star ipomoea, trompillo (= I. coccinea Sessé & Moc.)
  • Ipomoea horrida Huber
  • Ipomoea horsfalliae – Lady Doorly's morning glory, cardinal creeper, Prince Kuhio vine
  • Ipomoea imperati (Vahl) Griseb.[7]
  • Ipomoea incisa R.Br.
  • Ipomoea indica – oceanblue morning glory, blue morning glory, blue dawn flower, koali awa (Hawaii)
  • Ipomoea jalapa (L.) Pursh.
  • Ipomoea krugii Urban – Krug's white morning glory
  • Ipomoea lacunosa L. – whitestar potato, whitestar
  • Ipomoea leptophylla – bush morning glory, bush moonflower, manroot
  • Ipomoea leucantha Jacq. (non Webb ex Hook., Desv. ex Ham.)
  • Ipomoea lindheimeri Gray – Lindheimer's morning glory
  • Ipomoea littoralis Blume – white-flowered beach morning glory
  • Ipomoea lobata (Cerv.) Thell. – fire vine, Spanish flag
  • Ipomoea longifolia Benth. – pink-throated morning glory
  • Ipomoea macrantha
  • Ipomoea macrorhiza Michx. – large-rooted morning glory
  • Ipomoea marginata (Desr.) Verdc.
  • Ipomoea mauritiana Jacq. – giant potato, kiribadu ala, likam (Hawaii)
  • Ipomoea meyeri (Spreng.) G.Don – Meyer's morning glory
  • Ipomoea microdactyla Griseb. – calcareous morning glory
  • Ipomoea × multifida – 'Cardinal Climber' (I. coccinea × I. quamoclit)

  • Ipomoea nil – white-edged morning glory, ivy morning glory, Japanese morning glory
  • Ipomoea obscura – obscure morning glory, small white morning glory
  • Ipomoea ochracea (Lindl.) G.Don – fence morning glory
  • Ipomoea oenotherae Hallier f.
  • Ipomoea pandurata – wild potato vine, big-rooted morning glory, man-of-the-earth, manroot
  • Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R.Br. – beach morning glory, "goat's foot"
    • Ipomoea pes-caprae ssp. brasiliensissalsa-da-praia (Brazil)
  • Ipomoea plebeia R.Br.
  • Ipomoea plummerae Gray – Huachuca Mountain morning glory
  • Ipomoea polymorpha Roem. & Schult. (= I. heterophylla R.Br.)
  • Ipomoea prismatosyphon Welw.
  • Ipomoea pubescens Lam. – silky morning glory (= I. heterophylla Ortega)
  • Ipomoea pulcherrima
  • Ipomoea purga (Wender.) Hayne – Vera Cruz jalap (= I. jalapa auct. non L.)
  • Ipomoea purpurea – common morning glory, purple morning glory, tall morning glory
  • Ipomoea quamoclit – cypress vine, cypressvine morning glory, cardinal creeper, cardinal vine, star glory, "hummingbird vine"
  • Ipomoea racemigera F.Muell. & Tate
  • Ipomoea repanda Jacq.bejuco colorado
  • Ipomoea repens
  • Ipomoea rubens Choisy (= I. fragans)
  • Ipomoea rupicola House – cliff morning glory
  • Ipomoea sagittata Poir. – saltmarsh morning glory
  • Ipomoea setifera Poir.bejuco de puerco
  • Ipomoea setosa Ker Gawl. – Brazilian morning glory
  • Ipomoea shumardiana (Torr.) Shinners – narrow-leaved morning glory
  • Ipomoea simulans – Tampico jalap, purga de Sierra Gorda
  • Ipomoea sloteri – cardinal climber
  • Ipomoea steudelii Millsp. – Steudel's morning glory
  • Ipomoea stolonifera
  • Ipomoea tastensis Brandegee from Baja California Sur
  • Ipomoea temascaltepecensis Wilkin[8]
  • Ipomoea tenuiloba Torr. – spiderleaf
  • Ipomoea tenuirostris[9]
  • Ipomoea tenuissima Choisy – rockland morning glory
  • Ipomoea ternifolia Cav. – triple-leaved morning glory
  • Ipomoea thurberi Gray – Thurber's morning glory
  • Ipomoea tricolor Cav. – Mexican morning glory, tlitliltzin (Nahuatl), badoh negro
  • Ipomoea trilobalittlebell, Aiea morning glory
  • Ipomoea tuberculata
  • Ipomoea tuberosa L. – Hawaiian woodrose
  • Ipomoea tuboides O.Deg. & van Ooststr. – Hawaii morning glory
  • Ipomoea turbinata Lag. – lilacbell
  • Ipomoea velutina R.Br.
  • Ipomoea violacea L. – beach moonflower, sea moonflower
  • Ipomoea wrightii – Wright's morning glory

Formerly placed here

  • Ellisia nyctelea (L.) L. (as I. nyctelea L.)
  • Jacquemontia ovalifolia (as I. ovalifolia Choisy)
  • Jacquemontia tamnifolia (L.) Griseb. (as I. tamnifolia L.)
  • Merremia aegyptia (L.) Urb. (as I. aegyptia L.)
  • Merremia cissoides (Lam.) Hallier f. (as I. cissoides (Lam.) Griseb.)
  • Merremia discoidesperma (Donn. Sm.) O'Donell (as I. discoidesperma Donn. Sm.)
  • Merremia dissecta (Jacq.) Hallier f. (as I. dissecta (Jacq.) Pursh or I. sinuata Ortega)
  • Merremia emarginata (Burm. f.) Hallier f. (as I. reniformis (Roxb.) Sweet)
  • Merremia kingii (Prain) Kerr (as I. kingii Prain)
  • Merremia mammosa (Lour.) Hallier f. (as I. mammosa (Lour.) Choisy)
  • Merremia peltata (L.) Merr. (as I. nymphaeifolia Blume)
  • Merremia pterygocaulos (Choisy) Hallier f. (as I. pterygocaulos Choisy)
  • Merremia quinquefolia (L.) Hallier f. (as I. quinquefolia L.)

  • Merremia sibirica (L.) Hallier f. (as I. sibirica (L.) Pers.)
  • Merremia tuberosa (L.) Rendle (as I. tuberosa L.)
  • Merremia umbellata (L.) Hallierf. (as I. polyanthes Roem. & Schult. or I. pterodes Choisy)
  • Operculina aequisepala (Domin) R.W.Johnson (as I. aequisepala Domin)
  • Operculina hamiltonii (G.Don) D.F.Austin & Staples (I. hamiltonii G.Don)
  • Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso (as I. turpethum (L.) R.Br.)
  • Piper kadsura (Choisy) Ohwi (as I. kadsura Choisy)
  • Stictocardia macalusoi (Mattei) Verdc. (as I. macalusoi Mattei)
  • Stictocardia tiliifolia (Desr.) Hallier f. (as I. campanulata L.)
  • Turbina corymbosa (L.) Raf. (as I. burmannii Choisy)
  • Xenostegia medium (L.) D.F.Austin & Staples (as I. medium (L.) Druce)
  • Xenostegia tridentata (L.) D.F.Austin & Staples (as I. angustifolia Jacq.)[7]

See also

Vera Cruz jalap (I. purga) from Köhler's Medicinal Plants
Ipomoea stolonifera
Hawaii morning glory (I. tuboides)
Lilacbell (I. turbinata) in Hyderabad, India


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ipomoea.
Wikispecies has information related to: Ipomoea
  1. 1 2 "Genus: Ipomoea L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  2. "Ipomoea". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  3. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  4. Austin, Daniel F. (2004). Florida Ethnobotany. CRC Press. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-8493-2332-4.
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Summer Institute in Materials Science and Material Culture: Rubber Processing in Ancient Mesoamerica. Retrieved 2007-NOV-22.
  6. "Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) leaves suppressed oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) in vitro and in human subjects". J Clin Biochem Nutr. 48: 203–8. 2011. doi:10.3164/jcbn.10-84. PMC 3082074Freely accessible. PMID 21562639.
  7. 1 2 "GRIN Species Records of Ipomoea". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  8. Wilkin, Paul (1995). "A New Species of Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae) from Mexico State, Mexico, and Its Evolution". Kew Bulletin. Netherlands: Springer. 50 (1): 93–102. doi:10.2307/4114611. ISSN 1874-933X. JSTOR 4114611.
  9. Bussmann, R. W.; et al. (2006). "Plant use of the Maasai of Sekenani Valley, Maasai Mara, Kenya". J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2: 22. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-22. PMC 1475560Freely accessible. PMID 16674830.
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