Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Beach morning glory: purple

with 24 comments

The term “beach morning glory” is ambiguous: people use it for Ipomoea imperati and for Ipomoea pes-caprae, both of which grow on coastal sand dunes, often even together. One easy way to tell them apart is that the former produces white flowers and the latter purple flowers, as shown here at Port Aransas on June 3rd. Other vernacular names for the purple-flowering species are railroad vine (presumably because it tends to grow along railroad tracks), goatfoot morning glory (which is what the Latin pes-caprae means), and bayhops. Both kinds of beach morning glory have thick and leathery leaves, but those of the white-flowering species are only about 1.5 inches long, while those of the purple-flowering species reach as much as 3.5 inches in length. I found one of those larger leaves that had turned conspicuously yellow, and it contrasted nicely with the day’s blue sky.




All photographs are illusions.
Speaking of which, here’s an interesting article about optical illusions.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2022 at 4:35 AM

24 Responses

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  1. I love the shape of this leaf


    June 14, 2022 at 5:43 AM

  2. Your camera perfectly captured the purple of the morning glory, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    June 14, 2022 at 8:58 AM

  3. I’m one of those that are guilty of calling them Morning Glory’s but I don’t say Beach morning glory. It’s lovely whatever you call it. 💜😀


    June 14, 2022 at 10:05 AM

    • These two morning glories get called beach morning glories because they really do grow on Gulf Coast beaches from Texas to Florida. Many other Ipomoea species don’t make it to beaches.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2022 at 12:37 PM

  4. Two totally different views to better know this plant – thanks! I suppose this family drapes the entire planet where the climate provides the right growing conditions. I need to spend a day better familiarizing myself with the many primos in this family. Presently there are some interesting beauties growing in the dry forest area – they sprawl skyward on stalks that remind me of young wisteria, and I remember seeing similar plants near the beach in Costa Rica.

    Sigh, so much to explore and so few hours of sunlight in each day here – where it’s basically 12 and 12 year round….

    • That was a very interesting story about how the eye and brain work in seeing/adjusting to those ‘tests.’ All of the samples made me feel a bit dizzy and disoriented…. and yes, they appeared to pulse, move, vibrate….. thanks!

      • I also experienced pulsation. As scientists’ knowledge of human perception increases, I expect it’s only a matter of time before artists incorporate those insights into their work. A classic example is perspective in Renaissance painting.

        Steve Schwartzman

        June 15, 2022 at 7:02 AM

        • Yes, I wondered about implementing that into a contemporary work — once i painted a big spiral in bright colors, and sometimes that makes me a little dizzy. it would make an interesting experiment, but i’m guessing it would make me really dizzy to work on it, unless most of the image was covered during that work progress!

    • It was the same for Eve in the Philippines, where there’s little difference in the number of daylight hours and temperatures throughout the year.

      The huge difference between these two views of the same plant pleased me, too. That’s true even in the perspectives—looking down in the first, largely up in the second—and the backgrounds—busy and close in the first, far away and simple in the second.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2022 at 6:58 AM

      • After leaving the comment, I was back at the refugio and paid closer attention to the plants/vines.. Their colors are very intense right now – lovely in the mornings and showing heat/drought stress in the afternoons. Stressed or not, they remain lovely!

  5. […] glory as Ipomoea imperati. At Port Aransas on June 3rd the white flowers significantly outnumbered the purple ones produced by Ipomoea pes-caprae. Here are broader and closer views of the white flowers, with a tiny spider on one in the second […]

  6. The leaf image anoint the sky reminded me of the war in Ukraine.

    Alessandra Chaves

    June 15, 2022 at 10:05 PM

  7. Glorious glories.


    June 16, 2022 at 5:19 AM

  8. The shape of the leaf in the second photo reminds me of the bloom of a pea found on beaches: Strophostyles leiosperma. The shape is only similar, but the nice curves are the same. Beyond that, this leaf-against-sky is as pleasing as any sunflower-against-sky.

    I used to confuse this purple bloom with the salt-marsh morning glory (Ipomoea sagittata) until I realized the difference in the leaves, and the tendency of the plants to grow in different conditions.


    June 16, 2022 at 6:37 AM

    • Unfamiliar with the salt-marsh morning glory, I looked it up and found that its species name sagittata refers to the plant’s arrowhead-shaped leaves:


      No way you’d confuse that for the kind of leaf in this post’s second picture.

      Speaking of sunflowers, they’re getting numerous here now. In fact I photographed my first ones of the season two days ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 16, 2022 at 6:46 AM

  9. […] Corpus Christi had offered up plenty of purple beach morning glory flowers, Ipomoea pes-caprae, the plants in Galveston put on a greater show of spreading their runners […]

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