Hill Morning-glory

Hill Morning-glory © EKennedy

Stemless Morning-glory, Cambria Morning-glory
Calystegia subacaulis ssp. subacaulis

Description (Jepson, PlantID.net)

    • Eudicotyledon
      • Eudicots are a major lineage of flowering plants; see family for general characteristics
    • Morning-glory Family (Convolvulaceae)
    • Low-growing perennial herb
      • Grows from a rhizome
    • Leaves
      • Arranged in a basal rosette
      • Slightly lobed, triangular-shaped, with wavy edges
    • Flowers
      • Inflorescence (flower arrangement) of large, solitary flowers on short stems
      • 5 fused petals, twisted and pleated in bud, opening into a funnel shape
      • White or cream, often tinted with light pink
      • Ovary superior (above the attachment of other flower parts)
    • Fruit is a capsule (a dry, multi-chambered fruit that splits open at maturity)
    • Height to a few inches


      • Native and endemic (limited to) California
        • Grows in grasslands, dry open scrub, or woodlands
        • See Calflora for statewide observations of this plant
      • Grows at elevations to 1,600 ft.

      Uses (Picking or removing any natural material from public land is illegal)

        • Visited by insects

        Name Derivation

          • Calystegia (kal-i-STEE-jee-a) – from the Greek kalux, “cup,” and stegos, “a covering,” meaning a covering or concealing cup, probably referring to the leaf-like structures (bractlets) partially concealing the sepals of some species
          • subacaulis (sub-ak-AWL-is) – from the Latin sub, “below,” and caulis, “stalk or stem,” referring to the lack of an obvious stem
          • Morning-glory – flower opens in the early morning


            • Although members of the Morning-glory family are often vines, hill morning-glory grows in a tidy basal rosette
            • Geophytes, e.g. plants growing from bulbs, corms, and rhizomes, are adapted to survive fire, our Mediterranean climate’s long, dry summers, and extended droughts
              • Above-ground growth dies back after flowering, while underground the plant survives with stored water and nutrients
            • Edgewood’s hill morning-glory is classified as a subspecies
              • Subspecies rank is used to recognize geographic distinctiveness, whereas variety rank is appropriate for variants seen throughout the geographic range of the species; in practice, these two ranks are not distinct

            ID Tips

              • Distinguished from the one other morning-glory species found at Edgewood by location and growth habit
                • Hill morning-glory
                  • Grows in open serpentine grassland
                  • Low-growing, with a basal rosette of leaves
                  • Mnemonic – grows close to the “hill”
                • Western morning-glory (C. purpurata ssp. purpurata)
                  • Grows in woodland and chaparral
                  • Climbing vine

              At Edgewood

                • Found in serpentine grasslands
                  • See iNaturalist for observations of Calystegia subacaulis
                • Flowers April – June

                See General References