Morning in All Its Glory
Morning in All Its Glory
From my set entitled “Morning Glory”
In my collection entitled “The Garden”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Morning glory is a common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae, belonging to the following genera:
As the name implies, morning glory flowers, which are funnel-shaped, open in the morning, allowing them to be pollinated by Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other daytime insects and birds as well as Hawkmoth at dusk for longer blooming variants. The flower typically lasts for a single morning and dies in the afternoon. New flowers bloom each day. The flowers usually start to fade a couple of hours before the petals start showing visible curling. They prefer full sun throughout the day and mesic soils. In cultivation, most are treated as perennial plants in tropical areas and as annual plants in colder climates, but some species tolerate winter cold. Some moonflowers, which flower at night, are also in the morning glory family.
Morning glory is also called asagao (in Japanese, a compound of 朝 asa "morning" and 顔 kao "face"). A rare brownish-coloured variant known as Danjuro is very popular. It was first known in China for its medicinal uses, due to the laxative properties of its seeds. It was introduced to the Japanese in the 9th century, and they were first to cultivate it as an ornament. During the Edo Period, it became a very popular ornamental flower. Aztec priests in Mexico were also known to use the plant’s hallucinogenic properties. (see Rivea corymbosa).
Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations used the morning glory species Ipomoea alba to convert the latex from the Castilla elastica tree and also the guayule plant to produce bouncing rubber balls. The sulfur in the morning glory’s juice served to vulcanize the rubber, a process pre-dating Charles Goodyear’s discovery by at least 3,000 years.
Because of their fast growth, twining habit, attractive flowers, and tolerance for poor, dry soils, some morning glories are excellent vines for creating summer shade on building walls when trellised, thus keeping the building cooler and reducing heating and cooling costs.
Popular varieties in contemporary western cultivation include the Morning Glory "Sunspots" "Heavenly Blue", the moonflower, the cypress vine, and the cardinal climber. The cypress vine is a hybrid, with the cardinal climber as one parent.
In some places such as Australian bushland morning glories develop thick roots and tend to grow in dense thickets. They can quickly spread by way of long creeping stems. By crowding out, blanketing and smothering other plants, morning glory has turned into a serious invasive weed problem.
Ipomoea aquatica, known as water spinach, water morning-glory, water convolvulus, Ong-Choy, Kang-kung, or swamp cabbage, is popularly used as a green vegetable especially in East and Southeast Asian cuisines. It is a Federal Noxious Weed, however, and technically it is illegal to grow, import, possess, or sell. See: USDA weed factsheet. As of 2005, the state of Texas has acknowledged that water spinach is a highly prized vegetable in many cultures and has allowed water spinach to be grown for personal consumption. This is in part because water spinach is known to have been grown in Texas for more than fifteen years and has not yet escaped cultivation. The fact that it goes by so many names means that it easily slips through import inspections, and it is often available in Asian or specialty produce markets.
The seeds of many species of morning glory contain ergot alkaloids such as the hallucinogenic ergonovine and ergine (LSA). Seeds of I. tricolor and I. corymbosa (syn. R. corymbosa) are used as hallucinogens. The seeds can produce similar effect to LSD when taken in the hundreds. Though the chemical LSA is illegal to possess in pure form, the seeds are found in many gardening stores, however, the seeds from gardening stores may be coated in some form of mild poison in order to prevent ingestion or methylmercury to retard spoilage. They should not be taken by people with a history of liver disorders or hepatitis. They should not be taken by pregnant women as they can cause uterine contraction which can lead to miscarriage. Individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease (Heart attack, blood clot, and stroke) or a family history of such problems, and the elderly should avoid consuming these seeds due to their vasoconstrictive effects.
Note that the plant known as Korean morning glory, Datura stramonium, is of a different species, is poisonous, and also produces hallucinogenic effects.