Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
They can easily be recognized by their funnel-shaped radially symmetrical flowers. These have 5 sepals, a corolla of 5 united petals and 5 stamens. The flowers are hypogynous (= having a superior ovary). The stem of these plants is usually winding, hence its Latin name (convolvere = to wind). The leaves are simple and alternate, without stipules. The fruit is a capsule with 1 to 4 seeds (sometimes even more), or a berry or a nut.
The leaves and starchy tuberous roots of some species are used as foodstuffs (e.g. sweet potato and water spinach), and the seeds are exploited for their medicinal value as purgatives. Some species contain ergoline alkaloids that are likely involved their activity as psychedelic drugs (e.g. ololiuhqui).
According to the study of D.F. Austin (see Reference) the family Convolvulaceae can be classified in the following tribes:
- Cuscuteae (sometimes classified as a separate family Cuscutaceae).
- Argyreia (Hawaiian baby woodrose)
- Calystegia (False bindweed)
- Convolvulus (Bindweed)
- Ipomoea (Morning glory, Sweet potato)
- Austin, D. F. (1973) The American Erycibeae (Convolvulaceae): Maripa, Dicranostyles, and Lysiostyles I. Systematics. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 60: 306-412.
- Austin, D. F. 1997. Convolvulaceae (Morning Glory Family)
- Convolvulus plant
- The Families of Flowering Plants : Convolvulaceae
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