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IPOMOEA leptophylla

Image of Ipomoea leptophylla

Family

Convolvulaceae

Botanical Name

IPOMOEA leptophylla

Plant Common Name

Bush Moonflower, Man-of-the-Earth

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

The large, edible tuberous root system of the bush moonflower allows this perennial to survive in dry, seemingly barren landscapes. It is one of the prettiest, pink-flowering wildflowers native to the American Great Plains from Montana to New Mexico. Dry prairies, roadside shoulders and gravelly sites support this upright to sprawling herbaceous perennial.

When not in bloom, bush moonflower looks wispy and mundane. Narrow, linear green leaves alternate along the wiry, arching, branching stems in the plant mound. From late spring to midsummer, rosy pink flowers with a funnel shape appear. Blossoms may range from lavender-pink to red-pink, especially in the flower throats. Pointed egg-shaped seed capsules ripen by fall. Subfreezing temperatures kill back the foliage. The underground tubers may become up to 4 feet long (3.3 m) with lateral branching roots that spread 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 m) in the soil.

Grow bush moonflower in variably sunny locations in any well-drained, porous soil. A sand or gritty loam is ideal, and it may be seasonally moist without detriment to the roots. It does not transplant well, so start plants from seed in the location they are to forever dwell. Use it in a dry wildflower meadow or xeriscape rockery. It looks prettiest when intermingling with grasses and other wildflowers among rocks and fallen, dried tree limbs.

Root tubers may be dug and eaten. Native Americans used this plant as an emergency food source by boiling, baking or roasting the roots.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vine/Liana

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    1'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m

  • Width

    2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Central United States, Western United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Cushion/Mound-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Light Pink, Magenta, Rose

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes