Distribution of Convolvulaceae:
It is commonly known as “Sweet-potato family”. It includes 55 genera and 1650 species which are found in tropical region of the world. In India the family is represented by 177 species belonging to 20 genera.
Economic Importance of Convolvulaceae:
- Food: Tuberous roots of Ipomoea batatus (Sweet potato) are rich in starch and edible. Root stock of Calystegia sepium are cooked and eaten. The leaves of Ipomoea aquatica are used as vegetable.
- Medicinal: Due to the purgative property of latex, several species are used as medicine (Exogynum purga). Ipomoea hederacea yields Kaladana. Leaves of Ipomoea pescarpae are boiled and applied externally in case of colic while decoction in used as a blood purifier and in bilious disorders. Ipomoea paniculata is considered good for rejuvenation, Merremia tridentata is used in rheumatism, piles and urinary disorders.
- Weed: Convolvulus arvensis, Evolvulus alsinoides, are the common weeds. Cuscuta is a parasite and ruins many types of plants.
- Ornamental: Ipomoea biloba, Convolvulus, Porana, Calystegia and Quamoclit are cultivated as ornamentals.
Affinities of Convolvulaceae:
Convolvulaceae is closely related to the Boraginaceae but can be distinguished by the terminal bilobed stigma, disc below the ovary and curved embryo. Rendle and Wettestein segregated the family in a separate order Covolvulales, Wettestein considered them to be allied to the Malvales and Geraniales.