Man of Earth, Beach Botany

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The Man of Earth, Ipomoea pandurata, is a member of the Convolvulaceae (Morning Glory) family. A herbaceous perennial, Pandurata, is a reddish twining vine that grows from  roots that can produce a tuber that can be 30” in length and 5” wide. The tuber can be eaten. Heart shaped cordate leaves are alternate on the vines and widely spaced. Leaves are attached to 6” long petioles. Leaf color is a dark olive green and up to 6” in length. Margins are entire.

Large funnel shaped flowers grow from leaf axils. The corolla has five white fused petals marked with a star which is common with the Ipomeas. The funnel is colored a dark purple. Sex organs are positioned deep in the funnel. Corolla  is about 4” in diameter. Fruit is a capsule with 2 to 4 flat seeds. Blooming occurs spring to fall.

Pandurata’s habitats are the sand hills and dry hammocks of Northern, Central and a few Southern Counties including Lee and Collier Counties. There are 27 species in the genus Ipomoea in Florida. 13 of the species are non-native. Pandurata is native. The pandurata species in the picture was found in a hammock in the Corkscrew Environ- mental Regional Watershed Preserve in Collier County.