Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Wand milkweed

with 14 comments

Wand milkweed flowering; click for greater detail.

The most common milkweed in central Texas is one that goes by the strange name of antelope-horns (Asclepias asperula). That species, whose peak flowering time waned with the spring, has yet to make its appearance in this blog, but here’s a different milkweed that I found flowering twice in August: it’s Asclepias viridiflora, which stands erect and is therefore called wand milkweed, though some sources give it the fanciful name green comet milkweed. Its flowers form an approximate hemisphere, one of which projects toward you in the upper part of the photograph; you can see part of the flat back of another floral hemisphere below.

If you’re wondering what makes a milkweed a milkweed, notice the characteristic drop of “milk” on the left side of the stalk about a third of the way up from the bottom.

I found this plant growing at the same location as the bulrushes featured in yesterday’s post and the one from the day before.

You may want to visit the USDA website for more information on this species, including a clickable map showing the surprisingly many places in North America where wand milkweed grows.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 1, 2011 at 5:54 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Beautiful flower. Well done.


    September 1, 2011 at 1:25 PM

  2. You have amazing photography skills! Every picture is in such great detail. Loved your photo-blog!


    September 1, 2011 at 1:27 PM

  3. Hi Steve. I usually pay attention to the mildweeds only after they go to seed. Thank you for your look at milkweed’s early life! The drop of ‘milk’ is neat! Jane

    jane tims

    September 1, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    • Hi, Jane. Like you, I’m fascinated by milkweeds after they go to seed and their pods split open, but their earlier stages have charms too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2011 at 11:08 PM

  4. It’s very pretty and new to me. Nicely photographed!


    September 1, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    • I’m always glad when I can show people something new. According to the USDA map, this species has been found in various parts of Montana, so let’s hope you’ll eventually come across it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2011 at 11:15 PM

  5. It is a beautiful flower. I’m am just now realizing that there are many kinds of milkweeds…


    September 1, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    • Milkweeds are fascinating, and as you pointed out, there are many species. We’ve got more than half a dozen in central Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2011 at 11:17 PM

  6. Great photo! I collected seeds of this milkweed today. This year I’ve been looking closer at the flowers, pods and seeds which are uniquely different between species.


    September 3, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    • Thanks, Scott. In the following post a reader asked about the pods of this species. Are the seeds and fluff inside similar to those of other milkweeds like Asclepias asperula?

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2011 at 8:27 AM

  7. […] widespread milkweed in Austin, antelope-horns. Still earlier in these pages had come a few views of wand milkweed. Here now is yet another Texas milkweed, and it’s even called Texas milkweed, Asclepias […]

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