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Known to natives of north and central Mexico by its Nahuatl name Ololiúqui (also spelled ololiuhqui or ololiuqui) and by the south eastern natives as xtabentún (in Mayan), it is a perennial climbing vine with white flowers, often planted as an ornamental plant. This plant also occurs in Cuba, where it usually blooms from early December to February. Its flowers secrete copious amount of nectar, and the honey the bees make from it is very clear and aromatic. It is considered one of the main honey plants from the island.
The Nahuatl word ololiuhqui means "round thing", and refers to the small, brown, oval seeds of the morning glory, not the plant itself, which is called coaxihuitl, "snake-plant", in Nahuatl, and hiedra, bejuco or quiebraplatos in the Spanish language. The seeds, in Spanish, are sometimes called semilla de la Virgen (seeds of the Virgin Mary). While little of it is known outside of Mexico, its seeds were perhaps the most common used by the natives.
The seeds are also used by Native shamans in order to gain knowledge in curing practices and ritual, as well as the causes for the illness.