The morning glories and bindweeds belong to a family which is largely tropical; this is true of most creeping and climbing plants, few of which are of northern origin. But the upright bindweed is a morning glory which no longer climbs; it is an upright plant, seldom more than a foot tall and usually less, with a few leaves and a flower or two which seem to be all out of proportion to the size of the plant.
Convolvulus spithameus L.
May - June. Sunny, sandy roadsides.
It is a pinkish-white morning glory, with all the crisp freshness of that ephemeral tribe as it opens in the early sunshine of a June morning. The two-parted calyx clasps the tubular base of the widespread, bell-shaped flower. It is the sort of blossom to belong on a lush vine festooned over a fence or tangling itself over a spice bush in the river bottoms. It seems oddly incomplete to be found upon that low little plant.
The leaves are long, narrow, heart-shaped, prominently veined, set alternately on the downy stem. There on sandy banks or in rocky soil along a road in northern Illinois, this surprising little plant - still maintaining its Latin name of Convolvulus, which means "to entwine"-opens its large flowers on its small plaids from late May until August.
The American bindweed (Convolvulus americanus) is a long vine which is common on fences, etc. The flowers resemble those of upright bindweed, above.