Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Ivyleaf Morningglory: Ipomoea hederacea

Weed Description:  A summer annual twining or climbing vine with distinctive 3-lobed leaves and large showy purple to blue or white flowers.  A common weed of agronomic, horticultural, and nursery crops found throughout the southeastern and into the north central and northeastern United States.

Fruit:  A brown spherical capsule (3-locular) that contains 4-6 seeds.

Seedling:   Cotyledons are notched at the apex, and this notch forms an angle between the lobes that is less than 90 degrees.  The cotyledons are only shallowly or moderately indented, and the lobes are usually rounded or only slightly pointed.  Cotyledons are notched at the base, and are close to square in outline, with only a slight flare outwards.  The first true leaf is unlobed.
Leaves:  Alternate, hairy, petioled, 2-5 inches long, and distinctly 3-lobed or ivy-shaped.  The hairs on the leaves and petioles are erect, or stick straight out.

Roots:  Taproot.

Stems:  Running along the ground, or more commonly climbing, reaching 10 feet in length. Stems also have hairs that are erect.

Flowers:  Long (1-2 inches), with petals that are fused into a funnel, and purple to blue or white in color. The bases of the flowers are densely hairy.

Identifying Characteristics:  Distinctive purple to blue or white flowers, 3-lobed leaves, and leaves, stems, and petioles with hairs that stick straight out.  The characteristic leaves of ivyleaf morningglory help to distinguish it from all of the other morningglories at the 'mature' stage of growth.  However, identification of morningglories at the cotyledon stage of growth is much more difficult, and often more important.  The cotyledons of ivyleaf morningglory most closely resemble those of Entireleaf Morningglory (Ipomoea hederacea var. integriuscula) and Tall Morningglory (Ipomoea purpurea).   However, the cotyledons of tall morningglory are usually more square in outline when compared to the cotyledons of both ivyleaf and entireleaf morningglory.  The cotyledons of both ivyleaf and entireleaf morningglory are nearly identical and usually cannot be distinguished until the second true leaf emerges.