Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Question for the Hive Mind: Variegated Morning Glory?

I saw this growing at the ex-job, out on the nursery lot. It wasn't for sale, because it wasn't in a pot, and it didn't look like it had been deliberately planted, but it's also very odd and passably-ornamental looking, so I suppose it could have been an escapee. I don't recall us ever selling potted morning glories (moonflowers, yes, but not morning glories), though, nor did we ever offer sweet potato vines with this sort of variegation. So . . . what is it?

It was late afternoon when I took these pictures. The plant was in a location that likely gets only afternoon sun, and not very much of it: there are some fairly dense trees growing overhead.


Pat said...

My first thought was that it looks like pesticide damage to me. Makes me want to prune it severely and hope it recovers.

However, some pictures of Ipomoea (Pharbitis?) nil at Wikipedia seem to have similar patchy variegation with no mention that it is a horrible, blighting disease.




Pat said...

Here is one that shows that distinctive leaf shape as well as the white rim to the flower and (grits teeth) ornamental variegation. At least it isn't one of the doubles.


I love the fact that this company has a patriotic morning glory mix, which would serve just as well for France, the UK and a few other patriots.


Anonymous said...

I'm not partial to variegated plants in general, but that foliage strikes me as pretty nice. Have you considered rooting a cutting to try to overwinter it, assuming you have enough light somewhere?

Pat: As you may know, there are lots of causes for variegation, of which viruses and herbicide damage are only two. If seed-propagated plants are variegated, the cause is probably a chromosomal abnormality.

The plant shown could be Ipomoea 'Cameo Elegance'

or perhaps Ipomoea nil 'Tie Dye' (though the flower color is wrong)


Kimberly said...

I'm no help...don't know what it is, but I like it. The variegated leaves are quite attractive, I think!

Paul said...

The leaves look diseased.

Thomas said...

I like the foliage, reminds me of variegated hibiscus or clown fig. I think it would look nice in a place where it could stand out by itself. It might be worth trying a cutting, and maybe looking for seed.

It's been proposed that a benefit of variegation in plants is to break up the foliage outline; this might help spare the plant from excessive herbivore damage. Some Passiflora spp. even have spots on their leaves that look like butterfly eggs.

Nature's a trip...

Liza said...

Huh, isn't it weird how some people think it looks beautiful and others think it looks diseased?

I don't think it's a Morning Glory. I mean, there is a Morning Glory in there - I see the leaves. But the variegated leaves look sooooo different. Maybe I should've clicked on the other commenters links before opening my big mouth. C'est la vie.

mr_subjunctive said...

I'm actually really surprised by the number of people who think this looks diseased. It didn't strike me as being particularly sick-looking. Plenty of aroids have this sort of patchy variegation all the time.

I've seen grape ivy (the real one, that makes grapes) growing outdoors here that looks diseased to me, but in that case the pattern is much smaller-scale, lots of little swirly stripes and lines and stuff, instead of broad patches like this. I'd assumed that that was from a virus or something, but with this plant, it never even crossed my mind.

In any case, I guess I'm satisfied that it's a morning glory of some kind, and that this is something they do from time to time.

Paul said...

@ Liza - It's possible (for me at least) for a thing to look diseased AND beautiful. I think some dodder-infested plants look quite beautiful in a freakish, alien sort of way. Same w/broom rapes: the parasites tend to make a striking contrast against the host plant.

Pat said...

I am certain that it is I. nil. From the points I made before and the fact that it is commonly cultivated, the leaves are distinctive but variable on the same plant, it comes variegated from seed and there are two other species of Ipomoea leaves visible in the first photo. Someone threw a packet of mixed morning glory seed on a patch of ground to see what took.

Saying which variety of I. nil would be tricky given how many varieties are grown in Japan alone. Even if we had a picture of the flower open. Unless you know which seeds have been sold there. Like the one on the first page Don mentions - "Morning Glory Blend".

Don, whether it is a disease or a syndrome, I don't like it. Fungus and virus can also be passed through generations in the seeds.

Paul, leaf miner damage can look absolutely delightful to me. I know what you mean by dodder and the broomrapes looking lovely.

Jordan in Oregon said...

I see two plants in the picture ... which doesn't bring anyone any closer to figuring out what the bizzarro plant is :/

Tom said...

I'm about 99% certain it's cameo elegance morning glory. Looks just like it every time I've ever grown it.

Unknown said...

Morning glory vines have been growing in my yard for decades. This year I noticed that one of the vines came out variegated and is absolutely beautiful; each leaf is different, like a painting, and one leaf was half completely white and half completely green. This is the first time this has happened and i'm convinced it is a mutation. I broke part of the vine by accident while sweeping and am trying to root it in water to plant it in sunnier location and try to obtain seeds. I would love to be able to grow it again just as it is. Trust me, this is not a disease; to me, it is a miracle!