Aknapp, may I share a corner of your towel? Airborne moonflowers where the eye can see. Hah. I think that's 4 oops now.
Would you like to swap some lavender vine seed for white cleome seeds? I think I'll have enuf for folks in this thread.
Seedpicker, count me in on the Quest for the Blue Moonflower. Could you describe it a little more? Clues about what it's botanic name, origin, present and/or last known whereabouts might be? Useful references to update the dinosaurs on my bookshelf?
I love this foolishness. Do you think Mark Twain grew moonflowers?
Moonflower Vine Question
Aknapp, may I share a corner of your towel? Airborne moonflowers where the eye can see. Hah. I think that's 4 oops now.
"I love this foolishness. Do you think Mark Twain grew moonflowers?"
Funny you should ask that, bluespiral.
I remember once, in our correspondence, Samuel once wrote, " The blasted moonflowers that climb up the porch posts shine so brightly through my window that their luminescence causes a blur on my paper, making it difficult to read the very words I just penned. I've recently hired a young boy, named Huck, to stand guard. When the brightness of the moonflowers blind my papers his job is to swing a dead cat between the flowers and my desk (OUTSIDE the window), blocking their rays so that I may continue to view my writings. (I honorably pay him with a dead chicken each night and also provide him a stool to sit upon while doing his duty.)"
Funny you should ask, eh? ô¿ô
Aknapp, have you got somethin' bigger than a tea towel over there? Horseshoe has made me laugh so much my keyboard is swimming in tears. Will post again when I get control of myself.
shoe you are just a constant source of entertainment for the rest of us!!!!!
The biggest difference int he lavendar and white moonflowers are the size! The lavendars are only about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in size. shoe describes his white one as being close to the same size as my moonflower plant which is more like 6 and 7 inches across the tops of them.
Hope this makes sense. I grew the lavendars this year and was very dissappointed, just because I was expecting something bigger. They were cute, but not what I was hoping for!!!!
Shoe bluespiral and I are all under control again if you have any other words of wisdom for us this morning.
Here is the link that references a blue moonflower. This is the one that I called on, and talked to the head guy there. He told me that the retired author of this article, had moved, and told me the city he moved to, but he wasn't sure if he was still alive. There was no longer any listing for anyone by that name in that city...
The people that work there now, have no clue about this... only that the author no longer works for them, and that this was written in the 50's, but they still use it:
Scroll down to Calonyction aculeatum(the second reference of calonyction):
My friend in Houston is "on the hunt", too.
Here is a website of hers about it, and it includes an old seed packet with a picture of one:
Ok, out with it! lol...what is the alt command code for the funny face?? cute!
I declare, ‘Shoe, what a hoot! Had to paddle my way out, all the way to Amazonian waters where I could feel the Blue Moonflower beckoning from the shadows, out of which, instead, shot an Aztec rubber ball that whopped me upside the haid. Yes, that was Calonyction speciosum (now Ipomoea aculeatum) explaining to me that the Aztecs used a decoction of it to coagulate milk from rubber trees (includes quite a variety of genera). (See The Naturalist in Nicaragua by Thomas Belt, pub. 1874 and 1985 (p33 - 34).
Now, rubber trees did not grow in the valley of Mexico, home of Aztecs, and Mr. Belt was writing from what is now Nicaragua, 1000 miles away, where dwelled the Misquitos. So centuries and millenia ago trade routes were dispersing rubber and chocolate and Macaw birds/feathers and who knows what else surprising distances throughout South and Central America.
Those trade routes did cross into what is now the United States (Although the Blue Moonflower’s route across the Rio Grande must remain pure speculation here). At southwestern pueblos, Pochteca (Aztec warrior/merchants) traded Macaw birds, ceramics and minerals (artifacts of these have been found in SW pueblos dating c1200 AD) for turquoise. Also found at these pueblos are marine shells from the California Pacific. Obsidian from the Rockies and Copper from Michigan lakes have been found in southeast Mound cultures. It’s possible that trade routes linked both sides of the Rio Grande quite a distance north and south.
So where would we look now? No longer do we have to look down the business end of a maquahuitl of the Pochteca (Aztec warrior-merchants who traded with goods and weapons. They did not haggle.). According to J. L. Hudson, Seedsman, at http://www.jlhudsonseeds.com/ instead of the Pochteca, we now have the USDA “implementing...restrictions...on seed exchanges and small-scale distributors”. If any of us care about rescuing plant species (like the Blue Moonflower, if it’s not too late) from extinction, it would be a good idea to visit Mr. Hudson’s website.
South American seedhouses and botanic/horticultural/physic gardens, if any exist, would be good places to look - not to mention native South Americans keeping alive their ethnobotanic traditions. Mr. Hudson has listed seed from Zapotec South American Indians, botanic gardens of Beijing, China and in Czechoslavakia, the Himalayas (the Hindu seed collector was killed). Perhaps he could share some search pointers.
I hope this stuff wasn’t too snoozable – we are all traders. My DH kept the facts about native Americans straight. Seedpicker, thankx for the impetus of those websites. And 'Shoe, between you and the Pochteca, inertia doesn't stand a chance!
This message was edited Sep 10, 2004 1:42 AM
Pretty interesting stuff. Thanks! Amazing how societies have traded so much over so many years, eh?
Now as for inertia and me...? Hmmm, let me just sit still and think about dat. ;>)
'Shoe, Fortunately you live far enuf away that you can't have any inertia-itis attacks under our saucer magnolia. I may not have hoisted our moonflowers very high, but while we blinked a gourd started from Pinetree's "Cucuzzi caravazi", after dropping 5' long elongated thumpers (and growing) throughout our yew hedge, is now obliterating our skyline from the top of the magnolia. Thumpers are proliferating up there and burgeoning like aliens from outer space.
We don't have any spry Hucks down here. DH is thrilled. The contractors rehabbing next door seem to be moving too fast for any abrupt contact. (Do-it-yourselfers seem to be more likely to stop and schmooze and say hello than perfessionals.) There is no flat ground under the magnolia. Do I sound nervous? If Sam would like to save his eyesight differently, I'm sure these thumpers would do, but only they can aim themselves under present circumstances. Help.
This message was edited Sep 10, 2004 1:18 PM
This message was edited Sep 10, 2004 5:09 PM
hehehe....sounds like ya'll need to wear some helmets!
By the way...is there a pic of the cucuzzi somewhere?
We don't own a digital camera. Not sure what we'll do, but there are folks around here who've been humoring me by picking up the "Free Plants to Good Home" we put on the street. Time to call in the chips.
You made me hunt hard, but I found it! ô¿ô
I also found this one: ☺
and this one: ♥
This was a very interesting and funny thread, thanks to Horseshoe, Bluespiral and the rest of you. Made my evenings entertainment. Thanks Donna
Me too, and I'm doing a 'watch' in case someone really finds the source for the blue one. Still smiling at all this. ~Blooms
Remember our quest for the Blue Moonflower? Well, maybe this isn't it, but haven't had as much excitement around here since when our gourds were rearranging our garden's topography under the magnolia as they crashed down this past fall.
Perhaps we were lookiong in the wrong pea patch? Below - tada - is the website of one of the surviving botanical illustrations from Captain Cook's Pacific Voyage during 1768 - 1771. It is of Ipomoea indica, a blue moonflower, from the Endeavor River in Australia:
If that link doesn't work, click on following link:
then on "The Endeavor Botanical Illustrations"
then click on the picture of the blue moonflower in right border
Just amazing, isn't it, how botany - today - on both sides of the Atlantic reflects a time when all the land masses on earth were once a single continent called Gondwana. There was a great book on that once whose title I don't remember - it cost a fortune and the library didn't carry it.
Remember Shortia? discovered somewhere between Virginia and Georgia and never seen again until rediscovered in Asia (Japan? China?) - turned out to be another species within the same genus, but still... By the way, this is said to be a great low evergreen for shady rock gardens - needs humus and constant moisture but also some drainage. Lovely white fringed flowers.
I hope you experts out there can let us know if this flower still exists today and what it is now called - or if not, any clues for chasing down.
I'm not a botanist, but that illustration looks like a morning glory to me, not what I thought a moon vine would be... was expecting a datura flower. When I mentioned finding a source I was thinking along the lines of Parks, not Captain Cook. LOL
Karen, the genus and species of Ipomoea indica is without a doubt the perennial Morning Glory. It is a very aggressive vine as the vines stretch out and root wherever they touch. I made the mistake of planting it out back, and now I can't get rid of it. I did have it along the side of my house, and it took a long time to remove it from there. This is a very beautiful vine that needs to be monitored constantly!
Here's a picture:
I think you may be on to something, although over the past few years, it has been a rollercoaster of an adventure, and quest for this "blue moonflower"...
Stacey(Queenb) and I have been looking for the blue moonflowers for years. She even has an old picture of one posted on her web site, and we've bookmarked a site that specifically lists an old reference to it. The author is now presumed dead as he was 50 at the time, and it was written 50 years ago(or so they told me-I called them!)
Here is the original article he wrote: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/riograndeornamentals/vines.html
And here is her site with an image posted on it of an antique seed packet:
The image you posted looks more like the description in the article, while the antique seed packet looks more like the ipomoea indica that we are all familiar with. Which is what yours is labelled...weird that your picture is labelled Indica, but doesn't look like the typical Indica, but does look like the description of the blue moonflower from the artical.
In the article they use the old name for moonflower "Calonyction aculeatum". There is also a Calonyction muricatum which is referred to as "lavender moonvine". However, there is another "lavender moonvine" that is Ipomoea macrorhiza.
It gets confusing...
But, never occurred to me that the blue moonflower could be the Ipomoea Indica...I'll have to point Stacey to this thread...sure looks like it could be from her seed packet...
AND, two of my friends this year got seeds from their Ipomoea Indica(Syn. accuminata). It was reported to be sterile, but apparently NOT! This would make it even more able to be the old seed packet one...
My goodness, so many genus/species names for plants carrying a common name, eh?
That's a pretty morning glory but I'm just not into them very much (too invasive for me).
Would love to find a lavender/blue moonvine though, with the big 6 inch flowers, someday.
Interesting site you linked to, Karen. Good reading there (Endeavor).
Thank you all for responding. Between this and the tomato forum, I should make it through today's cabin fever okay - LOL. Well, I'm no botanist, so feel free to clarify any murky thinking of mine you can find.
Clare, in the illustration of Ipomoea indica from the Cook expedition, the leaves seem to have more of a smooth, unlobed, heart shape, whereas yours seem to be distinctly 3-lobed. Since this illustration is not attributed to the expedition's artist, Sidney Parkinson, who died at sea during the expedition, but instead to John Lee, who was probably one of the artists who finished these illustrations from Parkinson's sketches back in London after Captain Cook made it home, mayhap he goofed, but what a goof.
Also, in the illustration, the blue appears to be stripes, not solid like that in your picture. Are yours 6" in diameter? (Whether or not, we have a new neighbor whose lights make sitting out on the porch at night about as private as doing the cancan in a New Orleans jazz club - might you have seeds to trade?)
Seedpicker, in Pizzetti and Cocker's book referred to above, Calonyction muricatum was described as having flowers "not more than 3" in diameter", which seems a pretty distinct difference compared to their description of the white moonflower's diameter of 6" (Calonyction aculeatum in this book).
I wonder how Ipomoea macrorrhiza compares to the two discussed above?
And would the real Ipomoea indica please step up.
Blooms, I think the taxonomists moved the genus Calonyction over to Ipomoea, so that C. aculeatum is now I. alba and C. muricatum is now I. muricata. Looks like they've been stuffing Pharbitus (blue dawn flower) and Quamoclit and who knows what else into Ipomoea, too.
Perhaps the blue moonflower belongs in the realm of things "not seen, only dreamed of", but maybe there are some possibilities we haven't fully explored yet. For instance, those morning glory festivals in Japan go back centuries, and I understand they have a tremendous variety not seen over here in the states. Their neighbor, China, traded through the East Indies to up and down the African coast and is said to have had sea-faring technology that could have taken them to North America in the fifth century, if not for their governmental isolationist policy. Who knows what they brought to the morning glory gene pool way back when?
Well, no telling what life forms have been extinguished for ever as habitat is destroyed in order to grow some economically important cow or pulp timber. I hope the blue moonflower turns out to be more than a legend.
Karen, it is my understanding that the perennial Morning Glory, Ipomoea indica, does indeed have different strains or subspecies with different shaped leaves. Last year, Larry (Daturapod), asked me to send him cuttings of my vine (which I did) since my leaves were different to cross with his. I believe that this is how he was actually able to get seeds: by crossing different subspecies with each other. I could be mistaken, but this is my understanding. I have never seen seeds on my Ipomoea indica, and I don't recommend this vine due to its invasiveness. As for old drawings, I personally don't put much stock in them since they were so long ago and since limited coloring tools could have existed then and colors could have faded due to the elements and because I don't know anything about the artist, but admittedly, I have not researched this matter at all.
I've grown the Ipomoea macrorhiza (aka lavender moonvine), and it's size is much closer to the size of a moonflower, than a morning glory. But just an ooch smaller, ( but not by very much). The macrorhiza has more deeply cut scalloping on the edges which resemble "ruffles". It is prettier, but has no fragrance.
Here is a pic I posted: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/456794/
It is a nocturnal bloomer.
Now...a VERY rare ipomoea called ipomoea albivenia(from south africa) has flowers that resemble the macrorhiza, but are very fragrant. They smell kinda like the moonflowers, but more citrus-y...mmmm!....They also are nocturnal flowers.
It just occurred to me while writing this that my Ipomoea Indica flowers open like regular morning glories...they are not primarily nocturnal, but rather the typical morning and cloudy day-type openers...
Maybe they are not the blue moonflower, afterall...
Truthfully...I really think they DID exist, but like so many things, may have become extint. The big clues are that the article stated they are more fragile("...Not as well adapted as the White flowered variety.) and it is my guess that they were not adapted enough to survive...Plus, if they did exist, somebody would know about them, right??
On the flip side, there was a nursery about two years ago that carried what they called a "blue moonflower". They said they had purchased them from a source that they no longer had contact with, and did not have any seeds left for sale. No other information was given despite my one hundred more questions. Hope remains that the people who bought these seeds are continuing them, and maybe we'll see them circulate again, someday...
Ah! I guess not being nocturnal that Ipomoea indica is definitely not what we're looking for here.
Sometimes old drawings are all we have when a species becomes extinct. Incidentally, the Cook expedition of 1768 - 1771 was purportedly the first voyage ever specifically organized for scientific exploration.
Thank you, all, for further enlightening me about this awesome group of flowers.
Okay, now that Taylor and another person has drawn my attention to this thread, I guess I'll pipe in now. Funny that my ears weren't burning the whole time! LOL I must've been under my rock...
Firstly, the Blue Moonflower isn't Ipomoea indica...it's described in the article as being "not as well adapted", which indicates that it's not as hardy as the white variety, which it's clearly compared to. The article also gives the name Ipomoea bona-nox in parenthesis, which is another obsolete botanical for Ipomoea alba (Calonyction aculeatum being the other). Thus, the author is talking specifically about Ipomoea alba. It's also a known fact that some varieties of a specific plant don't do as well as the principal one, so I don't find it surprising that it may not do as well. Most likely, it's a weaker mutation of the white.
Also, anyone who has grown Ipomoea indica knows this is one morning glory that is tough as nails! Here's a website that is a key to some of the more common Central and South American Ipomea species: http://www.cs.umb.edu/~whaber/Monte/Plant/Conv/Ipom-plat.html I truly doubt that Capt. Cooke found Ipomoea alba on his voyage since it's native range is exclusive to the Americas.
Secondly, if you've happened to view my page, I do have an actual photo of a blue moonflower. I found the photo when I Googled "moonflower", and if you compare it to a white one, it's the exact same flower. I got the photo from the National Parks Service's website, and they list the name as Ipomoea alba. http://www.nps.gov/bicy/fire.htm I hardly think they'd fudge a photo. :-)
Thirdly, I've had a few other contacts, mostly in the southeastern states (Georgia, South Carolina, etc.) that have reportedly grown it, but found it not to be as hardy as the white, so seeds are rare and hard to come by. I did have a trader once send me five seeds of what was supposedly the blue, but between me and Taylor, we flubbed it big-time, so never found out if it was the real deal. :-((
Again, these are NOT the same as Ipomoea muricata or Ipomoea macrorhiza that I have posted here. These are clearly not blue at all. I have seen references to 'pink' and 'lavender pink', but I haven't found any solid literature or photos to back up the claim. I'm thinking they may be referring to these two species OR--maybe their blue ones look that color to them. One person's blue is another person's purple or pink...here's some websites that make mention of it, but note they aren't consistent with descriptions (or lack them).
http://www.dulley.com/plant/a062.shtml (I think the description of pink here is a different species)
http://blackkatherbs.com/namerican.htm# (just a mention, no description...this could be anything)
Just my 2 1/2 ¢ worth...
Oh, and by the way...
Horseshoe, your live flower looks MUCH better than my poor reproduction. I had this thing stuck in a flower arrangement I made years ago, and only figured out about two years ago what kind of flower it was supposed to be! Please excuse the dust, ratty edges and stains...I'm not sure how they got there, and not sure I need to know...
Taylor, I no longer live in Baytown, but out in the country now where I can finally grow all those seeds you've sent me! :-)
QB, the National Parks Service flower looks like Ipomoea turbinata to me. See this link: http://davesgarden.com/pf/showimage/48191/ The color looks lavender to me. What in particular convinces you that it is blue and different from Ipomoea turbinata or Ipomoea muricata?
This message was edited Jan 27, 2005 9:24 PM
"The article also gives the name Ipomoea bona-nox in parenthesis, which is another obsolete botanical for Ipomoea alba (Calonyction aculeatum being the other). Thus, the author is talking specifically about Ipomoea alba."
So, Queen Bee, the blue moonflower we're looking for is a variety of Ipomoea alba, right? Methinks I've led most of us along an unnecessary chase, but I hope you had as much fun as I did.
In the 1768 - 71 expedition, Captain Cook sailed west across the Atlantic, stopping at Brazil and rounding the bottom of South America into the Pacific to visit New Zealand and Australia and on around the globe till he arrived back in England again. He found many types of ipomoeas and their relatives, but I didn't see Ipomoea alba or its 18th century taxonomic equivalent listed among them. His third and last expedition was in 1878.
can't help it tee hee hee, I'm bad but... long lived sucker wasn't he Bluespiral?
giggle snort - ducking head twixt shoulders.
Clare, if you look at the structure of the stamens between the blue flower and Ipomoea turbinata, then compare the blue flower to the stamens of a white moonflower, you'll see how the stamens of I. turbinata differ in shape and placement. Notice how the stamens are long with prominent tips that protrude from the face of the blossom on the blue one, but aren't in I. turbinata or I. muricata, or even for I. macrorhiza.
I. alba http://davesgarden.com/pf/showimage/9344/
I. muricata http://davesgarden.com/pf/showimage/55109/
I. turbinata http://davesgarden.com/pf/showimage/48191/
The shape of the opening blossom also suggests I. alba, along with the fact that it doesn't appear to have a darker, broader throat like I. turbinata, and isn't paler pink like I. muricata. Also, if you think about it, all blue morning glories are tinted somewhat more lavender when they first open, but then again like I said, blue and purple, when it comes to flowers, are a matter of perception unless it's screamingly obvious it's blue or purple. ;-) I'm just using the name that was given.
I understand the DNA of all life forms carries genes within it that are not physically manifest.
So, if the blue moonflower we are looking for is the same species as the white Ipomoea alba, then Ipomoea alba must carry within it the genes for the blue moonflower.
Anyone have enuf ground to sow enuf white moonflower seed in hopes of a blue moonflower seedling?
Once upon a time in England, an entire village would devote itself to breeding just one flower - one village would concentrate on hyacinths, another on carnations, etc.
Now, I'm not going to destroy the gardens on my .17 acre that have taken me 30 years to make - with my own paws - in spite of vandals, no money, no time, and physical limitations in order to plant as many white moonflower seeds as I possibly can.
However, QB, have you ever thought of a breeding program? With your scientific expertise, would you consider directing a group of DGers' efforts towards the goal of breeding a blue moonflower?
I realize that some corporation with boocoop bucks could genetically manipulate a gene for blue from one species of flower to another - I hear they've been doing this in search of the Blue Rose. But it wouldn't be the same. I'd love to grow a real Blue Moonflower that on a hot, starry summer night harkens all the way back to some primordial tropical river from some other place, some other when.
edited to add "with my own paws"
This message was edited Jan 28, 2005 9:30 PM
Well, I don't know anything about this "scientific expertise", but have read up a lot on different species...*G* I'm far from any kind of expert, just to make that point clear. There are others here that could mop up the floor with my knowledge on the overall subject.
I'd very much like to figure out how to produce one, but usually something that spectactular is a pure accident of nature. I have been thinking lately about trying to cross pollinating different species of Calonyction, but I'll have to do some more reading to see if that's genetically possible. Just like all other species of animals and plants, they have their own particular number of chromosomes, so some cannot possibly cross with others. For example: I. tricolor, I. quamoclit, and I. nil can all be grown together without fear of cross-pollination, since they all have different chromosome counts. Although there has been one successfulI cross (I. x multifida syn. I. sloteri 'Cardinal Climber'), it was only after years of growing it that the chromosome count stablized and the plant became dependably growable. I found a really good website not too long ago that has hundreds of names, what group they belong to, etc., so I may be able to work out which ones I might have a good chance with. Since I. nil and I. purpurea have pretty much been hybridized to exhaustion, I want to go with other species to see what I can come up with. The only down side is that I won't know for sure what happens until late this summer or next spring (2006). Patience is not something I have a whole lot of! :-)
One other area of interest I'm seriously persuing is finding yellow and orange (yes, there is a pure orange strain of I. coccinea) ones that will cross in hopes of creating a striped one, or a whole new level of color. I'm sure someone else in the world may have already tried this, but even if I don't get anywhere with it, at least I'll have fun growing the flowers!
This message was edited Jan 30, 2005 1:30 AM
Wish I'd known that queeny, ...I've seen the yellow for trade on Daves, and for sale on ebay. He didn't know the botanical name for them, and we were trying to help him,with no positive result.
I'll find it for you.
The orange...is that one the Noah? I have a packet that says orange, I think...you can definitely have some, if my brain is correct, at the moment. Just getting my coffee down, so brain not fully booted, yet, so forgive me if I'm wrong about the orange one! lol...
I'll find the yellow link and post in a minute...
QB, could you post that website? I would love to see it. Dave's Garden has not disappointed me as a place to learn, horticulturally and otherwise. After Shoe's hilarious posts above, I went looking for Mark Twain (I don't know how Mark Twain being Samuel Clemens' pen name stuck all these years) on the net and found "almost" his complete works at:
It's such a different experience reading Twain in my 50's than it was as a kid. Seems like you see so many more levels in his satire, still current even though the "physical, manifest" world has changed so much since he wrote those words.
This thread has been quite a conversation. Thank you all.
couldn't find our thread but did find his site. Glad I remembered the name!
He has the little yellow one listed right above the larger yellow 'obscura'.
He also has the orange noah, and a really pretty pink one.
check it out:
I hope that little yellow is the one you were looking for...
Bluespiral, I love chasing elusive dreams thru the fogs of reality.
With such a companion as you and Capt Cook as our leader, we can safari thru the jungles in search of blue moonflowers, black hollyhocks, green roses, and little bitty elephants hiding in the strawberry patch. I'll bring the telescope and tweezers.
We've covered aspects of botany and exploration that I'd never have done on my own. There's so much to learn on here. Yay - Dave !!!