Morning glory is any of several flowering vines of the Convolvulaceae family. This family includes hundreds of species found in all the warmer parts of the world. Among them are the sweet potato, bindweed, and moonflower. Some are showy vines, and others are troublesome weeds. The common morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) is the showy flowering vine that is widely grown in the temperate regions of North America. It is an annual, but certain other species are perennials.
All morning glories thrive in hot weather. The leaves are usually heart shaped and light green. The blossoms are spreading and funnel shaped. They may be white or light pink. The unproved varieties also have large blue, red, purple, or striped blossoms. One species, I. pandurata, has large, white blossoms that open in the evening. The blossoms of most of the others open in the morning and close about the middle of the afternoon.
Morning glories are easily cultivated in good soil. They are popular as coverings on fences and trellises. The tip of the plant slowly revolves around in a circle until it touches some object. Then it coils around it and starts to climb. Morning glories need brush, fences, string, or other vines to climb on.
Morning glory was first known in China for its medicinal uses, due to the laxative properties of its seeds. It was introduced to the Japanese in the 9th century, and they were first to cultivate it as an ornament. A rare brownish-coloured variant known as Danjuro is very popular. During the Edo Period, it became a very popular ornamental flower.
The morning glory represents "love in vain" for whatever outside circumstances according to the Victorian language of flowers, which attributed various properties and sentiments to flowers so that people could communicate their feelings by what flowers were given as gifts, such as those by a suitor to their loved one.