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 Morning-glory Family
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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Convolvulaceae (from the genus Convolvulus, signifying to entwine). Morning-glory Family. Herbs, shrubs or small trees, twining or erect, turf-forming shrubs, thorny shrubs, "switch plants," or yellow, leafless, twining parasites, often with milky juice: leaves alternate: flowers bisexual, regular; peduncles very often bi-bracteate; calyx 5-parted, persistent; corolla more or less 5-lobed, usually plaited, gamopetalous, hypogynous, convolute; stamens 5, slightly epipetalous, alternating with the corolla-lobes; hypogynous disk present, usually lobed; ovary superior, 2-celled, rarely more or fewer celled; each cell 1-2-ovuled, micropyle directed downward and outward; styles 1-2; stigmas 1-2: fruit a capsule or a berry, very rarely breaking into 4 1-seeded nutlets.

Convolvulaceae has 40 genera with about 1,000 species, of which 300 species belong to the genus Ipomoea and 160 species to the genus Convolvulus. They are distributed in all regions except the arctics; but are especially numerous in tropical Asia and tropical America. The family is related to the Solanaceae and Boraginaceae, but also to the Polemoniaceae and Hydrophyllaceae. The absence of a circulate inflorescence, the plaited corolla, the direction in which the micropyle is turned and the few-seeded fruit are important distinguishing characteristics. The genus Cuscuta is parasitic and chlorophylless, receiving its nutriment by means of haustoria from the plant upon which it twines.

Because of the substances contained in the milky juice, many species are medicinal. The following are purges: jalap (Exogimium Purga), of Mexico; turbith (Operculina Turpethum), of the East Indies; and scammony (Convolvulus Scammonia), of the orient. The fleshy roots of Ipomoea Batatas (sweet potato) are edible; also those of Convolvulus Sepium. Ipomoea Pes-caprae is used in India to bind the sands along the coast. Convolvulus scoparius of the Canaries furnishes the fragrant oil of rhodium, used to adulterate oil of rose, and sold also to rat-catchers as a lure for rats. Cuscuta Epilinum, and several other species, are bad pests in cultivated fields.

Several genera are in cultivation in N. America: Argyreia, tender twiners; Breweria, trailing, grown in Florida; Convolvulus (Bindweed, California Rose, Rutland Beauty), mostly twining.; Ipomoea (Morning-glory, Moonflower, Cypress Vine, Indian Pink, Man-of-the-Earth, Blue Dawn Flower, Sweet Potato, Jalap), mostly twining; Jacquemontia, garden twiners; Lettsomia, twiners, grown in Florida.


The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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