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"Ipomoea" is also a novel by John Rackham, published by Ace Books in 1969.
Ipomoea carnea.jpg
Ipomoea carnea , called canudo-de-pita in Brazil
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Convolvulaceae
Tribe: Ipomoeeae
L. 1753 [1]

More than 500, see text

Synonyms [1]
  • AcmostemonPilg.
  • BatatasChoisy
  • BonanoxRaf.
  • CalonyctionChoisy
  • CalycantherumKlotzsch
  • DiatremisRaf.
  • DimerodisusGagnep.
  • ExogoniumChoisy
  • MinaCerv.
  • ParasitipomoeaHayata
  • PharbitisChoisy
  • QuamoclitMill.
  • QuamoclitMoench
Ipomoea transvaalensis - MHNT Ipomoea transvaalensis MHNT.BOT.2018.6.13.jpg
Ipomoea transvaalensis - MHNT

Ipomoea ( /ˌɪpəˈmə, -p-/ [2] [3] ) is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Convolvulaceae, with over 500 species. It is a large and diverse group with common names including morning glory, water convolvulus or kangkung, sweet potato, bindweed, moonflower, etc. [4]

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

Flowering plant clade of flowering plants (in APG I-III)

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,164 known genera and c. 369,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion and sperma ("seed").

Family is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy; it is classified between order and genus. A family may be divided into subfamilies, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. The official family names are Latin in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example, walnut trees and hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae, but that family is commonly referred to as being the "walnut family".


The most widespread common name is morning glories , but there are also species in related genera bearing the same common name. Those formerly separated in Calonyction [5] (Greek καλόςkalós "good" and νύξ, νυκτόςnúx, nuktós, "night") are called moonflowers. [4] The generic name is derived from the Greek ἴψ, ἰπός (íps, ipós), meaning "woodworm", and ὅμοιος (hómoios), meaning "resembling." It refers to their twining habit. [6] The genus occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and comprises annual and perennial herbaceous plants, lianas, shrubs and small trees; most of the species are twining climbing plants.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.


Woodworm is the wood-eating larvae of many species of beetle. It is also a generic description given to the infestation of a wooden item by these larvae.

Annual plant Plant that completes its life cycle within one year, and then dies

An annual plant is a plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seeds, within one year, and then dies. Summer annuals germinate during spring or early summer and mature by autumn of the same year. Winter annuals germinate during the autumn and mature during the spring or summer of the following calendar year.

Uses and ecology

Whitestar potato, Ipomoea lacunosa Ipomoea lacunosa1.jpg
Whitestar potato, Ipomoea lacunosa

Human use of Ipomoea include:

Ornamental plant plant that is grown for decorative purposes

Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as houseplants, cut flowers and specimen display. The cultivation of ornamental plants is called floriculture, which forms a major branch of horticulture.

Cultivar plant or grouping of plants selected for desirable characteristics

The term cultivar most commonly refers to an assemblage of plants selected for desirable characters that are maintained during propagation. More generally, cultivar refers to the most basic classification category of cultivated plants in the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). Most cultivars arose in cultivation, but a few are special selections from the wild.

Lepidoptera Order of insects including moths and butterflies

Lepidoptera is an order of insects that includes butterflies and moths. About 180,000 species of the Lepidoptera are described, in 126 families and 46 superfamilies, 10 per cent of the total described species of living organisms. It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world. The Lepidoptera show many variations of the basic body structure that have evolved to gain advantages in lifestyle and distribution. Recent estimates suggest the order may have more species than earlier thought, and is among the four most speciose orders, along with the Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera.

My pistol may snap, my mojo is frail
But I rub my root, my luck will never fail
When I rub my root, my John the Conquer root
Aww, you know there ain't nothin' she can do, Lord,
I rub my John the Conquer root

As medicine and entheogen

Ergonovine (ergometrine) Ergometrine.svg
Ergonovine (ergometrine)

Humans use Ipomoea for their content of medical and psychoactive compounds, mainly alkaloids. Some species are renowned for their properties in folk medicine and herbalism; for example Vera Cruz jalap ( I. jalapa ) and Tampico jalap ( I. simulans ) are used to produce jalap, a cathartic preparation accelerating the passage of stool. Kiribadu Ala (giant potato, I. mauritiana) is one of the many ingredients of chyawanprash , the ancient Ayurvedic tonic called "the elixir of life" for its wide-ranging properties.

Alkaloid class of naturally occurring chemical compounds

Alkaloids are a class of naturally occurring organic compounds that mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Some synthetic compounds of similar structure may also be termed alkaloids. In addition to carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, alkaloids may also contain oxygen, sulfur and, more rarely, other elements such as chlorine, bromine, and phosphorus.

Herbalism is the study of botany and use of plants intended for medicinal purposes. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today. Modern medicine makes use of many plant-derived compounds as the basis for evidence-based pharmaceutical drugs. Although herbalism may apply modern standards of effectiveness testing to herbs and medicines derived from natural sources, few high-quality clinical trials and standards for purity or dosage exist. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.

Jalap Wikimedia disambiguation page

Jalap is a cathartic drug, largely obsolete in Western medicine, consisting of the tuberous roots of Ipomoea purga, a convolvulaceous plant growing on the eastern declivities of the Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico at an elevation of 5000 to 8000 ft. above sea level, more especially about the neighbourhood of Chiconquiaco on the eastern slope of the Cofre de Perote in the state of Veracruz.

The leaves of I. batatas are eaten as a vegetable, and have been shown to slow oxygenation of LDLs, with some similar potential health benefits to green tea and grape polyphenols. [8]

Other species were and still are used as potent entheogens. Seeds of Mexican morning glory (tlitliltzin, I. tricolor) were thus used by Aztecs and Zapotecs in shamanistic and priestly divination rituals, and at least by the former also as a poison, to give the victim a "horror trip" (see also Aztec entheogenic complex). Beach moonflower (I. violacea) was also used thus, and the cultivars called 'Heavenly Blue Morning Glory', touted today for their psychoactive properties, seem to represent an indeterminable assembly of hybrids of these two species.

Entheogen chemical substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context that often induces psychological or physiological changes

An entheogen is a class of psychoactive substances that induce any type of spiritual experience aimed at development. The term entheogen is often chosen to contrast recreational use of the same drugs.

Priest person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion (for a minister use Q1423891)

A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.

Divination attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual

Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual. Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how a querent should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency.

Ergine (D-lysergic acid amide) Ergin - Ergine.svg
Ergine (D-lysergic acid amide)

Ergoline derivatives (lysergamides) are probably responsible for the entheogenic activity. Ergine (LSA), isoergine, D-lysergic acid N-(α-hydroxyethyl)amide and lysergol have been isolated from I. tricolor, I. violacea and/or purple morning glory (I. purpurea); although these are often assumed to be the cause of the plants' effects, this is not supported by scientific studies, which show although they are psychoactive, they are not notably hallucinogenic.[ citation needed ] Alexander Shulgin in TiHKAL suggests ergonovine is responsible, instead. It has verified psychoactive properties, though as yet other undiscovered lysergamides possibly are present in the seeds.

Though most often noted as "recreational" drugs, the lysergamides are also of medical importance. Ergonovine enhances the action of oxytocin, used to still post partum bleeding. Ergine induces drowsiness and a relaxed state and might be useful in treating anxiety disorder. Whether Ipomoea species are a useful source of these compounds remains to be determined. In any case, in some jurisdictions certain Ipomoea are regulated, e.g. by the Louisiana State Act 159 which bans cultivation of I. violacea except for ornamental purposes.

Pests and diseases

Many herbivores avoid morning glories such as Ipomoea, as the high alkaloid content makes these plants unpalatable, if not toxic. Nonetheless, Ipomoea species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of certain Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths); see list of Lepidoptera which feed on Ipomoea. For a selection of diseases of the sweet potato (I. batatas), many of which also infect other members of this genus, see List of sweet potato diseases.

Selected species

Formerly placed here

See also

Vera Cruz jalap ( I. purga ) from Kohler's Medicinal Plants Koeh-077.jpg
Vera Cruz jalap ( I. purga ) from Köhler's Medicinal Plants

Related Research Articles

Sweet potato species of plant

The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato and does not belong to the nightshade family, Solanaceae, but both families belong to the same taxonomic order, the Solanales.

Morning glory Flowering plant

Morning glory is the common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae, whose current taxonomy and systematics are in flux. Morning glory species belong to many genera, some of which are:

Ergine chemical compound

Ergine, also known as d-lysergic acid amide (LSA) and d-lysergamide, is an alkaloid of the ergoline family that occurs in various species of vines of the Convolvulaceae and some species of fungi. As the dominant alkaloid in the psychedelic seeds of Turbina corymbosa (ololiuhqui), Argyreia nervosa and Ipomoea tricolor, it is often stated that ergine and/or isoergine is responsible for the psychedelic activity. However, this theory is debatable, as anecdotal reports suggest that the effects of synthetic LSA and iso-LSA are only slightly psychedelic.

Ergoline chemical compound

Ergoline derivatives comprise a diverse group of chemical compounds whose structural skeleton is the alkaloid ergoline. Ergoline derivatives are used clinically for the purpose of vasoconstriction (5-HT1 receptor agonists—ergotamine) and in the treatment and alleviation of migraines (used with caffeine) and Parkinson's disease. Some ergoline alkaloids found in ergot fungi are implicated in the condition ergotism, which causes convulsive and gangrenous symptoms. Others are psychedelic substances, including LSD and some alkaloids in Argyreia nervosa, Ipomoea tricolor and related species.

<i>Ipomoea tricolor</i> species of plant

Ipomoea tricolor, the Mexican morning glory or just morning glory, is a species of flowering plant in the family Convolvulaceae, native to the New World tropics, and widely cultivated and naturalised elsewhere. It is an herbaceous annual or perennial twining liana growing to 2–4 m (7–13 ft) tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, 3–7 cm long with a 1.5–6 cm long petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 4–9 cm (2–4 in) in diameter, most commonly blue with a white to golden yellow centre.

<i>Argyreia nervosa</i> species of plant

Argyreia nervosa is a perennial climbing vine native to the Indian subcontinent and introduced to numerous areas worldwide, including Hawaii, Africa, and the Caribbean. Though it can be invasive, it is often prized for its aesthetic and medicinal value. Common names include Hawaiian baby woodrose, adhoguda अधोगुडा or vidhara विधारा (Sanskrit), elephant creeper and woolly morning glory. Its seeds are known for their powerful entheogenic value, greater or similar to its varieties from Convolvulaceae family, with the users reporting significant psychedelic and spiritual experiences. The two botanical varieties are A. n. var. nervosa described here, and A. n. var. speciosa, which are used in Ayurvedic medicine and have great medicinal values.

John the Conqueror

John the Conqueror, also known as High John de Conqueror, John, Jack, and many other folk variants, is a folk hero from African-American folklore. He is associated with a certain root, the John the Conqueror root, or John the Conqueroo, to which magical powers are ascribed in American folklore, especially among the hoodoo tradition of folk magic. Muddy Waters mentions him as Johnny Cocheroo pronounced Johnny Conqueroo in the songs, "Mannish Boy" and "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man". In "Mannish Boy" the line is "I think I'll go down/To old Kansas too/I'm gonna bring back my second cousin/That little Johnny Conqueroo", and in "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man" it is called "John De Conquer Blue".

<i>Ipomoea alba</i> species of plant

Ipomoea alba, sometimes called the tropical white morning-glory or moonflower or moon vine, is a species of night-blooming morning glory, native to tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, from northern Argentina north to Mexico and Florida. Though formerly classified as genus Calonyction, species aculeatum, it is now properly assigned to genus Ipomoea, subgenus Quamoclit, section Calonyction.

Tuberous morning glory can refer to these plants:

<i>Agrius cingulata</i> species of insect

Agrius cingulata, the pink-spotted hawkmoth or sweetpotato hornworm, is a moth in the family Sphingidae. The species was first described by Johan Christian Fabricius in 1775.

<i>Ipomoea violacea</i> species of plant

Ipomoea violacea is a perennial species of Ipomoea that occurs throughout the world with the exception of the European continent. It is most commonly called beach moonflower or sea moonflower as the flowers open at night.

<i>Ipomoea mauritiana</i> species of plant

Ipomoea mauritiana, the giant potato, is a type of morning glory plant. Like the sweet potato, it belongs to the genus Ipomoea. It grows as a vine.

<i>Ceratocystis fimbriata</i> species of fungus

Ceratocystis fimbriata is a fungus and a plant pathogen, attacking such diverse plants as the sweet potato and the tapping panels of the Para rubber tree. It is a diverse species that attacks a wide variety of annual and perennial plants. There are several host-specialized strains, some of which, such as Ceratocystis platani that attacks plane trees, are now described as distinct species.

<i>Ipomoea pandurata</i> species of plant

Ipomoea pandurata, known as man of the earth, wild potato vine, manroot, wild sweet potato, and wild rhubarb, is a species of herbaceous perennial vine native to North America. It is a twining plant of woodland verges and rough places with heart-shaped leaves and funnel-shaped white flowers with a pinkish throat. The large tuberous roots can be roasted and eaten, or can be used to make a poultice or infusion. When uncooked, the roots have purgative properties.

<i>Ipomoea nil</i> species of plant

Ipomoea nil is a species of Ipomoea morning glory known by several common names, including picotee morning glory, ivy morning glory, and Japanese morning glory. It is native to most of the tropical world, and has been introduced widely.

<i>Ipomoea lacunosa</i> species of plant

Ipomoea lacunosa, the whitestar, white morning-glory or pitted morningglory, is a species that belongs to the genus Ipomoea. In this genus most members are commonly referred to as "morning glories". The name for the genus, Ipomoea, has root in the Greek words ips and homoios, which translates to worm-like. This is a reference to the plant's vine-like growth. Lacunosa comes from a Latin word meaning air spaces, correlating with the venation of the leaves. Ipomoea lacunosa is native to the United States and grows annually. The flowers of this species are usually white and smaller than most other morning glories.

<i>Ipomoea purga</i> species of morning glory

Ipomoea purga is a species of flowering plant in the genus Ipomoea. It is commonly referred to as jalap.


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