Neotropical Convolvulaceae

Daniel F. Austin

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Arizona, USA. 

Description

Twining herbs, lianas, subshrubs, shrubs, or trees, some species with milky sap; rootstocks sometimes large and tuberous, otherwise fibrous. Leaves usually simple, entire to pinnately lobed or pectinate, some species palmately compound, alternate, stipules absent. Inflorescences solitary in leaf axils or in racemose or paniculate dichasia, some dichasial basally and monochasial above. Flowers small and inconspicuous to large and showy, but usually wilting quickly after opening (mostly within 4-5 hrs), perfect or unisexual (some African species), actinomorphic or slightly irregular; sepals 5, distinct, imbricate, equal or unequal, persistent, occasionally accrescent; corollas tubular, funnelform, campanulate, urceolate, or salverform, 5-lobed, 5-toothed or ± entire, with plicae (areas folded in bud) and interplicae (unfolded in bud), usually induplicate and often also convolute in bud; nectary disc annular or cup-shaped, sometimes 5-lobed, occasionally absent; stamens 5, distinct; filaments inserted on corolla tube base alternate with corolla lobes; anthers dithecal, usually linear or oblong, extrorse or introrse; ovary superior, 2-4(-6)-carpellate, usually with as many cells, placentation basal or basal-axile, ovules 2(4-6) per cell, or ovary 1-celled and ovules 4, these erect, anatropous; style 1, filiform, simple or bifid, or sometimes with 2 distinct styles; stigmas capitate or bilobed, or, when stigmas 2, then linear, ellipsoid, or globose. Fruits capsular, dehiscent by valves, transversely or irregularly, or indehiscent and baccate or nut-like; seeds 1-4(6), often fewer than ovules, glabrous or pubescent, endosperm absent or scanty, cartilaginous, cotyledons usually foliaceous.

Distribution in the Neotropics

  • Aniseia Choisy: S. Florida (adventive) to southern South America (southern Mexico, Mesoamerica, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispanola to Tobago, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyanas, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay).
  • Argyreia Lour.: (native to Old World; widely cultivated in Americas, not naturalized).
  • Bonamia Thouars:  (Mexico to Brazil, Peru).
  • Calycobolus Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.:  (Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil).
  • Convolvulus L.: (Mexico, Mesoamérica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brasil, Antilles, south to Chile and Uruguay).
  • Cressa L.: (Utah to Arizona & New Mexico, Baja California to San Luis Potosí, Mesoamérica, Ecuador, Perú, Chile, Argentina).
  • Dichondra Forst. & Forst. f.:  (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora & Chihuahua to Oaxaca, Mesoamérica, Antilles, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina).
  • Dicranostyles Benth.:  (Costa Rica to Brazil and Bolivia).
  • Evolvulus L.: (southern United States south to Brazil and Bolivia).
  • Hewittia Wight & Arn.:  (Jamaica, introduced).
  • Ipomoea L.: (southern United States to Chile, Uruguay).
  • Iseia O'Donell:  (Mesoamérica, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Perú, Brasil, Paraguay, Argentina, Trinidad, Tobago).
  • Itzaea Standl. & Steyerm.: (Veracruz, Mexico to Nicaragua).
  • Jacquemontia Choisy:  (Arizona, Florida, Baja California Sur & Sonora to Veracruz, Oaxaca, Mesoamérica, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Brasil, Argentina).
  • Lysiostyles Benth.:  (Guyanas, Brazil).
  • Maripa Aubl.: (Chiapas, Mexico south to Peru and Brazil).
  • Merremia Dennst. ex Endl.:  (southern United States, Mesoamérica; Colombia, Venezuela, Guayanas, Ecuador, Perú, Brasil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Antillas).
  • Odonellia K.R.Robertson:  (Tamaulipas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Mexico through Mesoamérica, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Perú).
  • Operculina Silva Manso: (Mexico through Mesoamérica, south to Brazil).
  • Petrogenia I.M.Johnst. (Mexico).
  • Porana Burm.f. (Mexico).
  • Poranopsis Roberty (cultivated and naturalized from Asia).
  • Stictocardia Hallier f. (native to Old World; widely cultivated in Americas, naturalized in Florida, the Caribbean, South America).
  • Tetralocularia O'Donell (Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname);
  • Turbina Raf. (naturalized in Florida and Texas; Mexico, Mesoamérica, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, Perú, Brasil, Bolivia, Paraguay).
  • Xenostegia D.F.Austin & Staples (Puerto Rico, naturalized).

Distinguishing characters (always present)

Key differences from similar families

Solanaceae similar, but has:

Number of genera

  • 26 genera (see Distribution above).

Useful tips for generic identification

  • Fruits (dehiscent, indehiscent, number of valves).
  • Trichomes (stellate in many Jacquemontia and a few Ipomoea).
  • Pollen (colpate, polycolpate, porate; surface spinulose [visible with 10x magnification] or microspinulose [visible only in light or SEM microscopy]).

Notable genera and distinguishing features

  • Aniseia & Calycobolus: Two outer sepals larger than inner three; fruits dehiscent in Aniseia, indehiscent in Calycobolus.
  • Convolvulus: Stigmas linear.
  • Cressa: Subshrub, haline sites, white flowers.
  • Dichondra:  Creeping stems; leaves kidney-shaped; flowers inconspicuous.
  • Evolvulus: 2 separate styles each with 2 clavate stigmas.
  • Jacquemontia: Stigmas oblong-flattened; fruits with >8 valves or valve segments; often with stellate trichomes.
  • Merremia & Operculina: Fruits capsular in Merremia, operculate in Operculina; pollen smooth, 3-multiple colpate.
  • Ipomoea: Pollen spinulose (visible with 10x magnification), pantoporate (requires microscope).
  • Turbina: Fruits chartaceous, indehiscent, typically 1-seeded.

Status

See distribution

Important literature

Austin, D. F. and Zosimo Huaman (1996). A synopsis of Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae) in the Americas. Taxon 45:3-38

Austin, D. F. and Rosangela Simão Bianchini (1998). Additions and corrections in American Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae). Taxon 47:833-838.

Austin, D. F. (2004). Convolvulaceae Pp. 113-115 In: Smith, N. P., S. A. Mori, Andrew Henderson, Dennis Wm. Stevenson, and Scott V. Heald. (2004). Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Princeton, NJ, New York Botanical Garden and Princeton University Press. [including references to revisions of several genera and groups]

Hallier, H. (1893). Versuch einer natürlichen Gliederung der Convolulaceen auf morphologischer und anatomischer Grundlage. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte un Pflanzengeographie 16: 453-591.

McDonald, J. A. (1991). Origin and diversity of Mexican Convolvulaceae. Anales del Instituto de Biológia de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Série Botánica 62(1): 65-82.

McDonald, J. A. and T. J. Mabry (1992). Phylogenetic systematics of New World Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae) based on chloroplast DNA restriction site variation. Plant Systematics and Evolution 180: 243-259.

Stefanovic, Sasa, D. F. Austin, and Richard G. Olmstead. (2003). Classification of Convolvulaceae: A phylogenetic approach. Systematic Botany 28(4)91-806.

How to cite

Austin, D.F. (2009). Neotropical Convolvulaceae. In: Milliken, W., Klitgård, B. & Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics. http://www.kew.org/science/tropamerica/neotropikey/families/Convolvulaceae.htm.

Click images to enlarge


Lateral view of flowers and stem with leaves of Calystegia sepium © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Habit of flowering plant of Calystegia macounii © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Dissected flower showing stamens and stigma of Convolvulus arvensis © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Branch with flower of Convolvulus arvensis © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Branch with flower of Convolvulus equitans © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Habit and prostrate herb of Dichondra brachypoda © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Branch with flowers of Dichondra brachypoda © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Fruiting branch of Dichondra brachypoda © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Flowering plant of Dichondra micrantha © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Flower of Dichondra micrantha © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Flowering plant of Evolvulus arizonicus © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Habit of Evolvulus sericeus © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Branch of Evolvulus sericeus © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Branch of Evolvulus sericeus © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Flowering branch of Ipomoea barbatisepala © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Bird/butterfly flower of Ipomoea cristulata © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Bee flower of Ipomoea hederacea- side © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Habit and herb growth form of Ipomoea leptophylla © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Twining habit of Ipomoea leptotoma © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Habit of Ipomoea thurberi, © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Side of moth flower of Ipomoea thurberi © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Top of Ipomoea thurberi , © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Side of autogamous flower of Ipomoea triloba © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Autogamous flower of Ipomoea triloba © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Bee flowers of Jacquemontia pringlei © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.



Bee flowers of Jacquemontia pringlei © Daniel F. Austin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.