It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

This is a morning glory (family Convolvulaceae), and it's probably the common morning glory Ipomoea purpurea. However, I hesitate to say that definitively because there are more than 1,000 species of morning glory belonging to more than ten different genera!

Morning glories get their name from the fact that the flowers of most species unfurl into full bloom early in the morning. The flowers only last a day, but most morning glory vines produce many, many blooms. Despite the common name, there are actually a few species of morning glory that bloom at night!

One of the most unusual features of the morning glory involves its seeds. The seeds of many species contain organic compounds known as ergoline alkaloids, such as ergonovine and ergine. These compounds are psychedelics, and when taken in a sufficient quantity, they can produce an effect similar to LSD!

However, before you grab a lava lamp and your favorite Yes album, it takes hundreds of seeds to produce an effect. What's more, many seeds that are sourced commercially run the risk of being coated in pesticides, which can cause liver disorders or even neural damage. Probably best to play it safe and just enjoy morning glories from an aesthetic perspective.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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