Or: “Morning Glories — Fiercer Than They Look”
In the courtyard outside my back door a silent battle for light has been raging. It can be quite distracting at times!
It all started a couple of days after the first substantial monsoon rain of the season. Hundreds of morning glory seedlings sprang up, angling U-shaped seed-leaves to the light. This was a couple of weeks ago. It was calm out in the courtyard until these seedlings began to send up shoots and jostle for a position which would provide a steady supply of sunlight. Gotta have energy to flower and ripen seeds, after all!
Here’s one of the first shoots trying to reach an overhanging pyracantha branch.
Once the true leaves had appeared it became apparent to me that these were Ivy-leaved Morning Glories (Ipomoea hederacea), a weedy species which may or may not be native to Southeast Arizona. The flowers will be small, about half the size of the blooms of a cultivated variety like Heavenly Blue, but with the same limpid sky-blue coloration.
This next shot was taken about ten days later. You can see some of the deeply-lobed true leaves beginning to form. Since morning glory shoots can’t see as they grope for a purchase upon whatever might enable them to climb, sometimes two or more shoots will encounter each other. In this photo several shoots are intertwined and the result might be that the collective weight will be their undoing. It’s like a slow-motion wrestling match.
This scenario reminds me of the old cautionary tale about crabs struggling to get out of a bucket. Once one crab manages to get part of the way up the steep sides of the bucket, other crabs will cling to it and they all fall back to the bottom.
Perhaps one in fifty of the hundreds of morning glory seedlings in the courtyard will survive to flower and bear seeds. At least they are silent during all of this struggle and strife!