Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Pitted Morningglory: Ipomoea lacunosa

Weed Description:  A trailing or climbing annual vine with heart shaped leaves that taper to a point with attractive funnel-shaped white flowers.  Primarily a weed of agronomic crops, landscapes, nurseries and sometimes in noncrop areas.  Pitted morningglory is found throughout the eastern half of the United States except for the far northern states.

Seedling:  Cotyledons are deeply indented and taper to a point as compared to tall, ivyleaf, and entireleaf morningglories.  Cotyledons are also without hairs (glabrous).

Stems:  Sometimes slightly hairy, trailing along the ground or climbing, and may reach 6 1/2 feet in length.

Leaves: Occur on relatively long petioles and are arranged alternately along the stem.  Leaves can be without hairs or only slightly hairy, but do not have the appressed hairs typical of tall morningglory.   Leaves are heart-shaped in outline but taper much more to a narrow tip, unlike those of tall morningglory.

Flowers:   Funned-shaped, white in color, approximately 3/4 inches long.

Fruit:  A capsule.

Roots:  A fibrous root system with a small taproot.

Identifying Characteristics:  The deeply indented cotyledons, heart-shaped leaves that taper to a point, and the relatively small white flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of pitted morningglory.  When in the cotyledon stage, pitted morningglory can be easily confused with sharppod morningglory, Cotton Morningglory (Ipomoea trichocarpa var. torreyana), or Palmleaf Morningglory (Ipomoea wrightii), which all also have deeply indented cotyledons.  Therefore, first true leaves and/or subsequent leaves will often be required to differentiate between these morningglory species.  In Virginia, however, the only species that are typically encountered are ivyleaf, entireleaf, tall, pitted, red, and bigroot morningglories.  Pitted morningglory is also similar to Tall Morningglory (Ipomoea purpurea) but lacks the appressed hairs on the leaves and has leaves that taper to much more of a narrow tip.