The Scrub Morning Glory constitutes a rare flowering plant in the (as the name implies) morning glory family. Fewer than 100 known populations of it still exist.
The lovely, not to mention delicate, flora remains endemic to a highly restricted habitat range in the United States. In fact, it represents the only member of its genus found within the borders of the continental United States.
This plant first listed as Highly Endangered in 1987, and the principal threat to its continued existence remains habitat loss. Men converted much of its native habitat to citrus groves and areas of urbanization.
Invasive species and the popularity of off-road vehicles within its endemic range further endanger the species.
Scrub Morning Glory Physical Characteristics
Each individual plant produces a deep taproot, along with multiple stems underground. Numerous leaves line the stem itself, while it has a covering of a multitude of small hair-like structures.
The leaves possess a grayish-green color with a leathery texture and average approximately 2 in (5 cm) in length. The large flowers develop at the end of a short stem along the vine and may be as much as 4 in (10 cm) across.
In color, the flowers typically display a bluish-purple, with a blue and white interior.
The fruit is a tiny capsule measuring nearly 0.4 in (1 cm)long and normally, contains only four seeds.
Scrub Morning Glory Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The delicate beauty that is the Scrub Morning Glory is endemic only to central Florida.
Fortunately, many of the few remaining populations are located within the confines of the Ocala National Forest. This offers them some protection from human activities.
As the name indicates, its natural habitat includes scrub, and sandy regions, typically in association with thinly forested regions. It is actually helped by the occurrence of wildfires in the region, which clears away the competing undergrowth. It has also proven capable of adapting to cleared sections of sandy land.
Outside of the federally protected area it inhabits, many of the remaining populations are also threatened by road maintenance activities. These include mowing and, of course, herbicide spraying.