Around the dingiest tenements, bordering the forbidding fences around grimy factories, in the black, cindery ballast of railroad embankments and railroad yards, the field bindweed produces bright white trumpets all summer long. It may be called a weed, an introduced weed which came over from Europe some time ago, but it is nevertheless one of the few, if not the only, flowers to grow undisturbed in the most impossible conditions of cities. It seems to thrive in a sooty atmosphere where even the summer sun shines through a haze of dirty air, where coal smoke blackens the Monday wash before it is dry where locomotives spew forth a cindery breath, or the smokestacks of factories belch black grime. Perhaps this is because fresh flowers open every morning, and the old flowers of the day before, their brief work done, are forming seeds in their fertilized ovaries. There along the sidewalk, the wire fence, the ballast, the bindweed plants cover every inch permitted it, and even climb up the wire mesh of the factory fence or caress the creosoted railroad ties or entwine the telephone pole's guy wires.
Convolvulus atvensis L.
Summer Waste places.
This Convolvulus, like the other morning glories, is of tropical origin, where the first morning glories may have known the humid moisture and warmth of jungles and climbed high and wide into the forest trees. The morning glories we have today may have been left in the north when a warmer climate departed with the approach of the continental ice mass. At any rate, the bindweeds, both native and introduced, are generous with their flowers and lavish with their vines and leaves.