Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Wild Potato Vine (Ipomoea pandurata)

A spectacular wild morning glory closely related to the sweet potato. It grows a similar starchy root that was an important food source for American Indians. Like many other members of the family Convolvulaceae, it really loves a chain-link fence, and here we see it growing on one in Beechview, where it was blooming in late July.

This species is somewhat unusual here compared to the far more common Bindweeds and Morning Glories. In Pennsylvania, it seems to grow south of a line drawn horizontally right across the center of the state, except that it has also been found near Erie.

Gray describes the genus and the species, which he places in the Euipomoea or Ipomoea-proper section of the genus:

IPOMOÈA L. MORNING GLORY. Calyx not bracteate at base, but the outer sepals commonly larger. Corolla salver-form or funnel-form to nearly campanulate; the limb entire or slightly lobed. Capsule globular, 4-6 (by abortion fewer)-seeded, 2-4-valved. (Nаmе, according to Linnaeus, from ips, a Bindweed, and homoios, like; but ips is a worm.)

§ 2. EUIPOMOÈA Gray. Corolla funnel-form or nearly campanulate, contorted in the bud; stamens and style not exserted.

• • Stigma 2-lobed or entire; cells 2, each 2-seeded; sepals broader, imbricated; leaves cordate, acuminate.

I. panduràta (L.) G. F. W. Mey. (WILD POTATO-VINE, MAN-OF-THE-EARTH.) Perennial, smooth or nearly so when old, trailing or sometimes twining; leaves occasionally contracted at the sides so as to be fiddle-shaped; peduncles longer than the petioles, 1-5-flowered; sepals smooth, ovate-oblong, very obtuse; corolla open-funnel-form, 4.5-8 cm. long, white, with purple in the tube. — Dry ground, Ct. to Ont., southw. and southwestw. June-Sept.— Stems long and stout, from a huge root, which often weighs 4-8 (-11) kg.

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