Colonized Vacant Lot in Curitiba, Brazil

July 19, 2017

Photographer: Mario Freitas
Summary Author: Mario Freitas

Abandoned urban areas compose a rich mosaic of habitats where opportunistic plants grow spontaneously, depending on soil nutrient richness and moisture. The above photo was taken from behind the fence of a 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) area located in Curitiba, Southern Brazil, a city where humid subtropical climate predominates. Dominating the foreground are heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers of Ipomoea indica, a twining weed belonging to the family Convolvulaceae, order Solanales.

Ipomoea indica reproduces through fragments of broken stems producing new roots at their nodes, though it can also reproduce from viable seeds. It's native to the Americas but has spread worldwide, having popular names such as blue morning glory. It's quite capable of blanketing and smothering shrubs or rapidly engulfing a host tree. Ipomoea indica's flowers, varying in color from deep blue to light pink, can attract large butterflies and even hummingbirds. A recently open flower can be seen, slightly out of focus, at the top image.

In the background note not only the row of residential buildings and graffiti on a brick wall but also the umbrella shape of the endangered pine species that's the symbol of the ParanĂ¡ state of Brazil, the Araucaria angustifolia. Photo taken on April 15, 2017.