Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Morning Glory

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Plant Description

Common Name(s):Morning Glory
Scientific Name:Calystegia macrostegia
Family:Convolvulaceae
Plant Type:Perennial
Size:stems twining vines to 12 feet long
Habitat:Sage Scrub, Chaparral
Blooms:March to August

Morning glory is a showy vine of bright white cheerful-looking trumpet-shaped blooms with a long summer flowering time. Blooming typically occurs from March to August. It is particularly abundant after a fire, so you might tire of seeing this plant next summer if you spend a lot of time in Point Mugu State Park.

The large mostly- to all-white funnel-shaped flowers grow to 2 inches or so in diameter, sometimes with purple stripes in the folds. The purple is symbolic of a more mature plant (and brings to mind the poem, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple"). Leaves grow from short stems and are triangular or arrow- or spade-like and up to 2 inches long.

The genus name Calystegia is from two Greek words meaning "a covering cup". The species name macrostegia further stresses it is a "large covering". Frequently this plant is given a subspecies name of cyclostegia which means circular covering. There are many other related subspecies of this plant due to mingling. The photo below-right is one such variation, Island Morning Glory (the seemingly-even-larger-covering-cup, Calystegia macrostegia ssp. macrostegia), from Santa Cruz Island.

Contributed by Liz Baumann


Originally featured: July 2013
Last modified: May 12 2017 23:41:05.
References:
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves