Tracing the Geographic Origins of Weedy Ipomoea purpurea in the Southeastern United States

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Abstract

Ipomoea purpurea (common morning glory) is an annual vine native to Mexico that is well known for its large, showy flowers. Humans have spread morning glories worldwide, owing to the horticultural appeal of morning glory flowers. Ipomoea purpurea is an opportunistic colonizer of disturbed habitats including roadside and agricultural settings, and it is now regarded as a noxious weed in the Southeastern US. Naturalized populations in the Southeastern United States are highly polymorphic for a number of flower color morphs, unlike native Mexican populations that are typically monomorphic for the purple color morph. Although I. purpurea was introduced into the United States from Mexico, little is known about the specific geographic origins of US populations relative to the Mexican source. We use resequencing data from 11 loci and 30 I. purpurea accessions collected from the native range of the species in Central and Southern Mexico and 8 accessions from the Southeastern United States to infer likely geographic origins in Mexico. Based on genetic assignment analysis, haplotype composition, and the degree of shared polymorphism, I. purpurea samples from the Southeastern United States are genetically most similar to samples from the Valley of Mexico and Veracruz State. This supports earlier speculation that I. purpurea in the Southeastern United States was likely to have been introduced by European colonists from sources in Central Mexico.

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