morning glory

Ipomoea indica
habit growing on a fence (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
large infestation (Photo: Land Protection, QDNRW)
climbing habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
leaves and bluish flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
leaves and purplish flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of stem, with adventitious roots beginning to form, and leaf stalk (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
heart-shaped leaf (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
three-lobed leaf (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of leaf underside (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of hairy young shoot (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
tubular flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of flower with paler centre (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
flower from side-on, showing paler floral tube with long and narrow sepals (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
Vine
Alternate
Simple
Blue
Green
Discoloured

A showy twining climber or scrambling plant with hairy stems. Its alternately arranged leaves (5-18 cm long and 3.5-16 cm wide) are either heart-shaped or three-lobed. Its large funnel-shaped flowers (5-10 cm long and 7-10 cm across) are blue or bluish-purple in colour with pale pinkish centres. These flowers have long and narrow sepals (14-22 mm long) and are borne in clusters of two to twelve in the leaf forks. This species does not produce viable seed in Australia, and fruiting capsules are rarely seen here.

Common names 
Also known as: morning glory, blue morning glory, blue dawn flower, blue morning-glory, common morning glory, convolvulus, Lear's morning glory,
Family 
Convolvulaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Spring - Autumn
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Probably native to the tropics of Central and South America, and possibly also native to south-eastern Asia (i.e. pan-tropical).
Notifiable 
No
Council declaration 
Class R – Reduce populations
Known distribution 

Widely naturalised in, particularly in the coastal districts of eastern Australia. Common in eastern Queensland and the coastal districts of eastern New South Wales. Also naturalised in south-western and western Western Australia, in south-eastern South Australia, in southern Victoria, on Lord Howe Island and on Norfolk Island. Naturalised overseas in southern Europe, southern Africa, New Zealand, southern USA and on several Pacific islands.

Habitat 

This species inhabits wetter tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions. It is particularly common in suburban gullies, gardens, along roadsides and waterways and in disturbed rainforest. Also a weed of summer crops, plantations, open woodlands, disturbed sites and waste areas.

Habit 

A long-lived (i.e. perennial) twining climber growing up to 15 m high, but sometimes scrambling over low vegetation or creeping along the ground.

Impact and control methods 

Blue morning glory (Ipomoea indica) is a significant environmental weed in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and an environmental weed in South Australia and Western Australia. It was also recently listed as a priority environmental weed in at least one Natural Resource Management region.

Stem and leaves 

The stems usually develop a twining habit although they occasionally spread across the ground (i.e. they are sometimes prostrate). These stems are fairly densely covered in spreading or backwards-curved (i.e. retrorse) hairs when young and they occasionally also exude a white milky sap when broken. The alternately arranged leaves (5-18 cm long and 3.5-16 cm wide) are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 2-18 cm long. They range from heart-shaped (i.e. cordate) to obviously three-lobed and have pointed tips (i.e. acute apices). Both leaf surfaces are softly hairy, the undersides more so.

Flowers and fruits 

The funnel-shaped (i.e. tubular) flowers are bright blue or bluish-purple in colour with a paler pink or whitish-pink central tube. These large flowers (5-10 cm long and 7-10 cm across) are borne in clusters of two to twelve in the leaf forks (i.e. axils). They have five long and narrow sepals (14-22 mm long). Flowering occurs throughout the year but is most abundant during spring, summer and autumn. The fruit are globular papery capsules (about 10 mm across) containing four to six dark brown or black coloured seeds. However, capsules are rarely produced and viable seed is not set in Australia.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This plant reproduces vegetatively via rooting stems and can sometimes also produce seed (overseas only).Stem fragments are commonly spread by water, animals and in dumped garden waste. They may also be dispersed by slashers, movers and other vehicles.

Similar species 

Blue morning glory (Ipomoea indica) is very similar to coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica), common morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) and ivy-leaved morning glory (Ipomoea hederacea). These species can be distinguished by the following differences: blue morning glory (Ipomoea indica) has hairy (i.e. pubescent) younger stems and heart-shaped (i.e. cordate) or three-lobed leaves. Its flowers are relatively large (7-10 cm across), its sepals are long and thin (14-22 mm long), and it does not produce viable seeds (capsules are generally not seen).coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica) has hairless (i.e. glabrous) stems and five to seven lobed leaves that resemble the fingers of a hand (i.e. they are palmately lobed). Its flowers are relatively large (5-8 cm across), its sepals are relatively short (4-7 mm long), and it often produces capsules containing four hairy seeds.common morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) has hairy (i.e. pubescent) younger stems and heart-shaped (i.e. cordate) or three-lobed leaves. Its flowers are relatively large (3-7 cm across), its sepals are moderately long (10-15 mm long), and it often produces capsules containing six hairless seeds.ivy-leaved morning glory (Ipomoea hederacea) has hairy (i.e. pubescent) younger stems and heart-shaped (i.e. cordate) or three-lobed leaves. Its flowers are relatively small (3-5 cm across), its strongly curved sepals are long and thin (about 20 mm long), and it often produces capsules containing four to six hairless seeds.