Florida bonamia

Pictured above: Florida bonamia (Bonamia grandiflora) by Scott Zona (CC BY-NC 2.0). Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.

Also known as Florida’s lady’s nightcap and Scrub morning glory, Florida bonamia (Bonamia grandiflora) is a rare, perennial flowering vine. Its showy blooms vary slightly in color from a bright blue in the morning to a pale lavender by the afternoon, at which time, the blooms close. They are solitary, five-lobed and funnel-shaped with white throats. Leaves are grayish-green and ovate with pointed tips, entire margins and tiny hairs. They are alternately arranged. Stems are hairy and herbaceous, arising in multiples from a single woody root mass and extending outward in different directions along the ground (unlike other morning glory species, which tend to be high-climbing). Fruits are capsules that usually contain four smooth, oblong seeds.

Florida bonamia typically blooms spring through fall. It occurs naturally in sand pine scrub. Florida bonamia is endemic to Central Florida, and is a federally threatened and state-listed endangered species. Its populations have declined in recent decades due to development of its habitat for residential areas and agriculture (primarily citrus groves). Only about 100 populations remain, 35 of which are protected in 15 managed areas.

Florida bonamia is adapted to occasional fire, which helps clear brush and minimize canopy species, creating the open, sunny areas that the plant requires. Thus, fire suppression or exclusion is also a factor in this species’ imperilment.

Bonamia grandiflora is the only species of Bonamia native to the continental United States.

Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning-glory family)
Native range: Central peninsula, primarily along the Lake Wales Ridge and in the Ocala National Forest
To see where natural populations of Florida bonamia have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Very dry, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: trailing, 3-4 feet in length
Propagation: Seeds
Garden tips: You’ll have to visit a natural area to see Florida bonamia as it is not commercially available in plant or seed form.