A study on the growing conditions, distribution and propagation of Statia Morning Glory (Ipomoea sphenophylla) on Sint Eustatius

Statia Morning Glory (Ipomoea sphenophylla) is one of two endemic species found on the island of Sint Eustatius. The plant is currently found in the northern hills of Sint Eustatius, in a dry evergreen forest. It also grows at lower elevations. In the past, different experiments were conducted relating to the propagation of the plant. The goal of this research was to study the growing conditions of Statia Morning Glory to collect more information and investigate how to widen the geographical range of the plant. A distribution map was made to identify the Statia Morning Glory plants found on the island. Seed material was also collected in order to propagate Statia Morning Glory, study the plant’s germination.
The five vegetation covers (trees, shrubs, herbs, litter, rocks and bare soil) were represented in almost all plant environments. Whereas trees (100%), shrubs (100%) and leaf litter (99%) were present in all environments, herbs (87%), rocks (94%) and bare soil (54%) were less abundant. This indicates that an environment with trees, shrubs and leaf litter is important for the growth of SMG. Another important aspect is sunlight. Almost all plants, and all the plants that produced seeds and flowers, were growing in the canopy and received high amounts of solar radiation. In addition, plants did not grow on trees higher than six meters, which can indicate that trees with a height > 6m are not suitable for the growth of SMG. The plant do not seem to have a specific preference with regard to the tree or shrub species on which to grow, since it was even found growing on dead trees and shrubs. To make a complete analysis of the growing conditions, more factors will need to be studied. Important factors missing in this study are a detailed soil description, annual and seasonal rainfall, temperature, sun radiation and air salinity.
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