Ipomoea coccinea L.

Red Morning Glory


CC = *
CW = 3
MOC = 33

© SRTurner

Family - Convolvulaceae

Habit - Annual forb.

Stems - Twining, twisting, scrambling on other vegetation, to 3 m, glabrous to sparsely pubescent at the nodes, angled.

Leaves - Alternate, simple, petiolate. Petioles to 6 cm, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, with an adaxial groove. Blades 2-12 cm long, usually with a pair of short, downward-pointing or somewhat spreading basal lobes, broadly ovate to somewhat sagittate in outline, tapered to a sharply pointed tip, glabrous or inconspicuously short-hairy toward the base, the lobes triangular to narrowly triangular, cordate at the base, sharply pointed at the tip, the margins sometimes also with a few short teeth toward the base.

Ipomoea_coccinea_leaves.jpg Pressed leaves.

© DETenaglia

Inflorescence - Axillary, loose clusters of 2-8 flowers on long peduncles. Peduncles to 9 cm, glabrous, angled, twisted. Pedicels to 1.5 cm, glabrous. Inflorescence divisions subtended by a pair of bracts, these 3 mm long, 1 mm broad, acuminate, glabrous.

Ipomoea_coccinea_inflorescence1.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Ipomoea_coccinea_inflorescence2.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Sepals similar in size and shape or the outer 2 slightly shorter and narrower, the main body 3-7 mm long, broadly oblong-elliptic, rounded or truncate at the tip but with a slender, tapered awn 2-6 mm long from just below the tip, glabrous. Corollas 2.0-3.5 cm long, to 2 cm broad, trumpet-shaped, the tube slender, widened abruptly at the tip, orangish red to red, with the tube and throat often yellow to yellowish orange, glabrous. Stamens 5, exserted, adnate about 6mm above the base of the corolla tube. Ovary 4-locular, the stigma 2-lobed. Filaments whitish-orange, glabrous but with retrorse papillose glands near the base. Anthers yellow, 1.2 mm long. Style 1, exserted beyond stamens, white, glabrous. Ovary superior, yellowish, glabrous, 4-locular, 4-seeded, 1.3 mm long, 1 mm in diameter. Placentation axile. Ovary subtended by whitish nectary.

Ipomoea_coccinea_calyx.jpg Calyx.

© DETenaglia

Ipomoea_coccinea_flower.jpg Flower.

© DETenaglia

Ipomoea_coccinea_flower2.jpg Flower.

© DETenaglia

Ipomoea_coccinea_flower3.jpg Flower.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Globose capsules 5-7 mm long, the persistent style 3-4 mm long, glabrous. Seeds 3.2-3.6 mm long, the surface densely pubescent with minute, curly hairs.

Ipomoea_coccinea_fruits.jpg Immature fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - June - October.

Habitat - Streambanks, gravel bars, pastures, fencerows, ditches, fields, railroads, roadsides, moist open disturbed areas. Also cultivated.

Origin - See below.

Lookalikes - None. Very similar to the introduced species I. hederifolia, which has not been found in Missouri. Flowers are similar to those of I. quamoclit, but that species has completely different leaves.

Other info. - This attractive vine is found in scattered locations in Missouri, most commonly in the southern third of the state, and is also scattered throughout the eastern U.S. It is recognized by its firecracker-red trumpet-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves. The striking flowers are a beacon to butterflies and hummingbirds. The plant can be aggressive if given the right conditions. It is not all that common, but can be prolific where it is found. A particularly favored habitat seems to be gravel bars and banks of medium-sized rivers.

There is controversy over the native distribution of this species, possibly due at least partially to the existence of multiple very similar forms, and disagreement over their circumscriptions. In his Flora of Missouri, Yatskievych considered this to be a native species, and Wood et al (PhytoKeys, 2020) considered it endemic to the southeastern U.S. However, the possibility remains that some or all Missouri populations represent a similar taxon which is not native.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 9-8-02 (DETenaglia); also along the Katy Trail near Augusta, St. Charles County, MO, 9-21-2011, 9-20-2017, and 8-29-2021(SRTurner).