The Kikyou Japanese Morning Glory is a classification of Asagao that has a star shaped flower. The entire plant is usually smaller statured, does not twine as well as normal JMGs and the leaves and flowers are a bit smaller but have more substance. These flowers will last longer than normal flowers and sometimes will stay open a second day if protected from hot sun. For this reason alone they are a highly desireable selection.
The unique shape of the flower is a result of the recessive gene star (s). Leaves on these plants are often a darker green and the rear rounded lobes are exagerated and often actually overlap. The Japanese often call this type of leaf an eddy leaf, referring to the whirlpool like swirling configuration caused by the overlapping lobes at the petiole attachment. Kikyou flowers often show very attractive petaloid development inside the flower causing a double look. These are more frequent on earlier flowers and it often causes sterility. Later single flowers are fertile and develop seed pods.
The Japanese have actually classified this plant as a mutant, but put it in the group of mutants called “Masaki” which are mutants that are generally fertile and can be maintained as normal Japanese Morning Glories.