Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Wavy milkweed

with 8 comments

Wand milkweed; click for greater detail.

Yesterday’s post featured wand milkweed, Asclepias viridiflora, whose erect stance is clearer in today’s picture of the species. As for the fanciful alternate name green comet milkweed, perhaps that’s a reference to the hemisphere of green buds at the top. If I had naming rights, I’d be tempted to say wavy milkweed, not only because of the plant’s crinkle-edged leaves, but also because of its stem, which zigzags in a shallowly sinuous way rather than growing straight. The vertical object in the background at the lower right is the upper portion of one of the plant’s pods, which lack the warty texture so prominent on the pods of some other local milkweed species.

I found this wand milkweed growing at the northeast quadrant of US 183 and MLK in east Austin on August 23.

You can 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 2, 2011 at 5:47 AM

8 Responses

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  1. Every day I visit your blog I meet a new plant – unfamiliar in my orbit. Lovely to know the world is filled to the brim with beauty yet to be discovered. Does this milkweed attract the Monarch Butterfly?

    Dawn

    September 2, 2011 at 8:02 AM

  2. That sure is a beautiful plant!

    kateri

    September 2, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    • I’m glad you see it that way, Kateri. I learned by doing some research that there are people who think milkweeds are weeds, as we can see from the very name they gave the plant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM

  3. I wondered the same thing, regarding whether this kind of milkweed is a host plant for monarchs! Does it create the same kind of fluffy seed pods as other milkweeds?

    Shelly

    September 2, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    • I believe it does. I’ve seen and photographed the green and then brown pods of wand milkweed (check tomorrow’s post), but I haven’t seen any of the pods of this species opening. With all the other milkweed species whose pods I’ve seen split open, there were seeds attached to fluff inside.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    • Here’s what Scott Lenharth says on the subject: “The pod shapes vary, and the exteriors may be warty or smooth or lined…. but the seeds and pappus are always set up the same. It’s pretty cool, and just like parachute jumps — the pod begins to split & the wind begins dragging seeds out in rows, which then deploy the chutes.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2011 at 12:12 AM

  4. […] as antelope-horns, and early readers of this blog also had a look at Asclepias viridiflora, or wand milkweed. In addition to those and some other local species, I’d read about Asclepias syriaca, which […]


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