Native Morning Glory vs the Weed Morning Glory

Kate Lamont

You’ve probably heard the name and even sighted the weed, Morning Glory. There are actually several weeds that go by that name – Ipomoea indica or Blue Morning Glory, Ipomoea cairica or Coastal Morning Glory, also known as mile-a-minute, and Ipomoea purpures or Common Morning Glory. And just to keep you on your toes, there’s also a native morning glory, Ipomoea pes-caprae. It’s important that you are able to distinguish between the native and the weed so here’s a bit about them.

The morning glory weeds are all perennial climbing vines with large light green and heart shaped leaves and small trumpet shaped flowers in various shades of purple, blue, violet and whitish pink. They are a major threat to native remnant rainforests such as we have in our local area. Their twining, climbing habit quickly forms a dense blanket over the native vegetation blocking out vital sunlight.

Landcare members have devoted many hours trying to control Coastal Morning Glory around Lennox Head. It’s a difficult one to totally remove because the plant can regrow from any part of the stem. All the plant materials have to be carefully disposed of to avoid regrowth and lengths of stem and root remaining in the ground  painted with a glyphosate-based product to kill remaining sections.

The native morning glory, Ipomoea pes-caprae, is known as Beach Morning Glory or Goat’s Foot because of the similarity of the leaf shape to the shape of a goat’s hoof print. This vine is not a climber, but runs in and around the sand dunes and plays a very important role in stabilising the dunes and slowing erosion during heavy storms. For this reason it is important for rehabilitating foreshores.

Photos: Coastal Morning Glory smothering trees at Boulder Beach and Goats Foot on Seven Mile Beach.

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