Morning Glory: A Historical Psychedelic

Morning glory species such as Ipomea violacea or Ipomea tricolor have seeds with a unique property that earned them a place within the traditional psychedelic and visionary practices across many cultures. The Chontal Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico, the Aztecs, the Zapotec, and other cultures utilized these seeds to communicate with the Gods. The Aztecs believed morning glories were had a unique ability to open divine portals. The Chontal Indians believed that a highly evolved spirit inhabited these plants, which could connect them to the spiritual realm.

Ipomea tricolor: “Heavenly Blue” Source
Ipomea violacea. Source

Morning glory seeds contain ergine, or lysergic acid amine (LSA). LSA is similar (though weaker) in effect and structure to LSD, and is considered a Schedule III drug by the US. The seeds are legal, but possession of the purified compound is not. Consumption can produce heightened senses, synesthesia, euphoria, mild hallucinations, anxiety, panic, and/or nausea.

Ergine (d-lysergic acid amide) molecular structure. Source

Sources Cited


How to Grow Morning Glories From Seeds

Morning glories need full sun, a support structure, and to be planted after all danger of frost is past to grow. Source.

Before planting:

  1. Placement: Morning glories need at least 6-8 hours of sun daily and a support structure (lattice, fence, gazebo etc.) to allow young plants to climb.
  2. Soil: Use well-drained soil, and avoid Nitrogen-rich fertilizers which produce more leaves and fewer flowers.
  3. Remove any weeds/other garden debris from plant site.
  4. Pick your species.  Click here to view a list of 15 morning glory varieties and purchase seeds.
  5. Nick pointed end with nail clipper and soak seeds in water for 12 hours prior to planting for increased germination rate.

When planting:

  1. Plant outdoors in full sun, 1/2 inch deep in prepared soil, after the last frost and average daily temperature exceeds 65⁰F (18⁰C).
  2. Plant 6-8 seeds per foot of space. After sprouting, thin seedlings to 12 in apart.

After planting:

  1. Keep soil moist while germinating.
  2. Seeds will germinate in 5-21 days.




Cuscuteae: A Parasitic Tribe

Family Convolvulaceae contains several tribes, one of which is a tribe composed of entirely parasitic plants. Tribe Cuscuteae contains only one genus (Cuscuta) with about 100-170 species of yellow, orange, or red (green is rare) parasitic plants. The common name for this group of plants is Dodder.

Cuscuta europaea in flower. Source

Dodder has thin, leafless stems. The leaves have been reduced to scales. These plants have low levels of chlorophyll since most or all of their nutrition comes from parasitizing other plants. After their seeds have germinated, the seedling has 5-10 days to attach to a host plant before its embryonic food reserve runs out. To find a host plant, the seedlings follow chemosensory clues.

After finding a suitable host, the dodder wraps itself around it and inserts haustoria into the vascular system of its host(s). Later, its root dies, and the dodder becomes entirely dependent on the host plant(s) for nutrition.

Diagram of the Cuscuta plant’s (1 & 3) use of haustorium (8) to penetrate the host plant (2). Haustorium grow into the phloem (5) of the host plant to absorb sugars and nutrients (6). Source





The Sweet Potato: An A+ Root Tuber

The sweet potato, if it isn’t already, should be immediately incorporated into your diet. This unassuming little root tuber is packed with tons of beneficial vitamins and nutrients.

It’s the best source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid and a type of Vitamin A. Most carotenoid forms of vitamin A are antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Beta-carotene can also be most easily converted into a retinoid form, also a type of vitamin A. They function in pregnancy, childbirth, growth and development, night vision, red blood cell production, and immune response.

Carotenoid pigments are responsible for the orange flesh of the sweet potato. These pigments are part of the Vitamin A group. (Ipomoea sp.) Source

Some other great stuff in sweet potatoes and what they do for you:

  • Vitamin C: antioxidant, skin health, neurotransmitter production.
  • Manganese: bone production, skin health, blood sugar control.
  • Copper: antioxidant, bone and tissue health, prevents anemia, cellular energy production.
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5): cellular energy production, fat storage.
  • Vitamin B6: hemoglobin production, carbohydrate metabolism, synthesis of key neurotransmitters (GABA, dopamine, & serotonin), toxin removal.


Convolvulaceae Characteristics

The Family Convolvulaceae is known as the “Morning Glory” family, and contains 50-55 genera and about 1600-1700 species. Most are herbaceous climbing/trailing vines, but some are shrubs and trees.

Characteristics of Family Convolvulaceae:

  • Simple, alternate leaves: leaves possess a single, undivided leaf blade at each node
Simple, alternate leaf arrangement. Source
  • Flowers: 5-merous actinomorphic (5-point radial symmetry), often bisexual and showy
    • Corolla (petals) fused into a tube
    • Stamen (pollen producing organ) fused to petals
    • Compound pistil composed of 2 or more fused carpals (ovule-bearing female reproductive parts, possibly modified leaves)
    • Sepals: 5 unfused, overlapping sepals (leaf-like, lowermost part of flower that protect flower as a bud)
Convolvulaceae flowers show 5-merous actinomorphic symmetry with fused corolla. Ipomoea alba. Source
  • Herbaceous parts tend to be twining (winding around something)
Stems of Convolvulaceae are often twining. Ipomoea sp. Source
  • Fruits: tend to be capsules (simple, dry fruits that split along pores/sutures to release seeds)
Convolvulaceae fruits are often capsules containing seeds. Convolvulus arvensis. Source

Familiar members of the Family Convolvulaceae are Morning Glory and Sweet Potatoes (Genus Ipomoea), Bindweed (Genus Convolvulus), and Dodder (Genus Cuscuta).