Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Palmleaf Morningglory: Ipomoea wrightii

Weed Description: A trailing or climbing annual vine with lobed leaves and attractive pink to light purple flowers.   Palmleaf morningglory is primarily a weed of agronomic crops found in the lower southeastern states only.

Seedling:  Cotyledons are deeply indented, have pointed ends, and are without hairs.  The cotyledons of palmleaf morningglory are very similar to those of pitted morningglory.

Leaves:  First true leaf and all subsequent leaves are distinctly lobed into 3 to 7 segments, giving the overall appearance of fingers on a hand.  Individual segments range from 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches long.  All lobes also arise from the same point (palmately divided leaves).

Stems:  Trailing or climbing, without hairs (glabrous), capable of reaching 6 1/2 feet in length.

Flowers:  Typical, morningglory-like flowers occur that are pink to light purple in color with a darker center.  Flowers range from 3/4 to 1 inch in length.

Fruit:  A brown capsule that is without hairs (glabrous) and has a distinctively coiled or spiraled stalk.  The capsules contain several dark brown seed that usually have long white hairs attached to them.

Identifying Characteristics: The leaves that are divided into 3 to 7 segments that arise from the same point (palmately divided), the pink to light purple flowers, and the seed capsule with a spiraled stalk are all key characteristic that help in the identification of palmleaf morningglory.   However, the cotyledons of palmleaf morningglory and Pitted Morningglory (Ipomoea lacunosa) are nearly identical, and distinguishing between these two species usually requires waiting for the first true leaf to form. palmleaf2-6.jpg (78099 bytes)