CONVOLVULUS FAMILY - Convolvulaceae: Hedge or Great Bindweed; Wild Morning-glory; Rutland Beauty; Bell-bind; Lady's Nightcap
Flowers--Light pink, with white stripes or all white, bell-shaped, about 2 in. long, twisted in the bud, solitary, on long peduncles from leaf axils. Calyx of 5 sepals, concealed by 2 large bracts at base. Corolla 5-lobed, the 5 included stamens inserted on its tube; style with 2 oblong stigmas. Stem: Smooth or hairy, 3 to 10 ft. long, twining or trailing over ground. Leaves: Triangular or arrow-shaped, 2 to 5 in. long, on slender petioles.
Preferred Habitat--Wayside hedges, thickets, fields, walls.
Distribution--Nova Scotia to North Carolina, westward to Nebraska. Europe and Asia.
No one need be told that the pretty, bell-shaped pink and white flower on the vigorous vine clambering over stone walls and winding about the shrubbery of wayside thickets in a suffocating embrace is akin to the morning-glory of the garden trellis (C. Major). An exceedingly rapid climber, the twining stem often describes a complete circle in two hours, turning against the sun, or just contrary to the hands of a watch. Late in the season, when an abundance of seed has been set, the flower can well afford to keep open longer hours, also in rainy weather; but early in the summer, at least, it must attend to business only while the sun shines and its benefactors are flying. Usually it closes at sundown. On moonlight nights, however, the hospitable blossom keeps open for the benefit of certain moths.
From July until hard frost look for that exquisite little beetle, Cassida aurichalcea, like a drop of molten gold, clinging beneath the bindweed's leaves. The small perforations reveal his hiding places. "But you must be quick if you would capture him," says William Hamilton Gibson, "for he is off in a spangling streak of glitter. Nor is this golden sheen all the resource of the little insect; for in the space of a few seconds, as you hold him in your hand, he has become a milky, iridescent opal, and now mother-of-pearl, and finally crawls before you in a coat of dull orange." A dead beetle loses all this wonderful lustre. Even on the morning-glory in our gardens we may sometimes find these jewelled mites, or their fork-tailed, black larvae, or the tiny chrysalids suspended by their tails, although it is the wild bindweed that is ever their favorite abiding place.