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Ipomoea cordatotriloba
Tievine, photographed in a vacant lot west of Delray Beach near Military Trail.

We can only guess how tievine got its common name. The scientific name, Ipomoea cordatotriloba, makes perfect sense, however. Its leaves tell the story, one heart-shaped –- cordato — the other with three lobes — triloba.

And it's a morning glory — ipomoea. Morning glory with a heart-shaped leaf and one that has three lobes. Ipomoea cordatotriloba. It's that simple.

Tievine is a native of the southeastern United States, including Florida. Its range extends from South Carolina to Texas. (Some maps put it in New Mexico and North Carolina as well.) It's also native to parts of Mexico and South America. It's become naturalized in Cuba, Jamaica and Central America. It's also made its way around the globe to India, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries as an introduced plant.

Tievine's flower is large, a couple of inches across. It varies in color from pink to lavender to deep purple. Like other morning glories, the flowers have five distinct, angled lines that look like the aperature of a camera. (Some say it is a star pattern.) They bloom in the early morning; by mid-day, they begin to close and die. New replaces old each morning, throughout the year here in South Florida. The vine can grow to 15 feet long or more, up fences and over shrubs and even trees. Or it can just hug the ground.

The Institute for Regional Conservation considers tievine rare in South Florida, found in all counties but only in 16 conservation areas. On the other hand, tievine's favorite habitat seems to be disturbed areas — roadsides, vacant lots, fallow fields and the like. It wil grow in just about any sunny spot. It's common elsewhere in the state and grows in just about every county.


It grows rapidly and aggressively, and in some places, invasively. It is a prohibited noxious weed in Arizona and a noxious weed in Arkansas. Georgia lists it as a category 4 invasive, meaning it hasn't done any environmental damage yet, but might have the potential to do so. In Sri Lanka, where it goes by bell vine, bell weed and wal thel kola in the native language, Sinhalese, it is a serious agricultural pest.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tievine is a source of food and cover for a variety of birds and mammals. Some say the funnel-like flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. However, we could not find any use of the plant by humans other than in landscaping.

It is a member of Convolvulaceae, the morning glory family. Other common names include purple bindweed, sharp-pod morning glory and cotton morning glory. We've seen spelling variations like morningglory and morning-glory attacted to its various common names.

Photographs by David Sedore
Links for Tievine
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