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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Morningglories  (Ipomoea spp.)

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Life stages of Morningglories seedling flower vine seeds

Morningglories, often called annual morningglories, are summer annual or perennial broadleaf plants. Morningglories are often cultivated as ornamentals, however, under favorable conditions they can become troublesome weeds. They are also a major agricultural weed problem in the San Joaquin Valley of California, where several species of Ipomoea are found. Control is critical from crop emergence to harvest. Destroy seedlings while they are small, because once they have twined up stems they are difficult to control without injuring the crop. Seeds remain viable in soil for long periods. Seeds of Ipomoea species contain many types of alkaloids, including some that are neurotoxins to humans and animals when consumed. Fortunately, there is typically not enough seed in contaminated grain to cause harm to livestock.


Most seedlings emerge following irrigation, but they may also appear when surface soil is too dry to allow germination of other annuals. Cotyledons (seed leaves) are butterfly shaped and more deeply notched and much larger than those of field bindweed. First true leaves are heart shaped with deep lobes at the base.

Mature plant

Mature plants have long stems that climb and twine. Leaves are large, heart shaped and/or three lobed, and are alternate to one another along the stem. Both leaf types can occur on the same plant.


The funnel-shaped flower varies in color depending on the species, from violet or blue to pink and red.


Fruits are pods that release seeds through slits.


Seeds germinate down to a depth of 4 inches (10 cm) or more, much deeper than most annuals.


Reproduces by seed.

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