Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Green comet milkweed

with 19 comments

Wand Milkweed Flowers 0685

I’ve always known Asclepias viridiflora as wand milkweed, but I was recently reminded that some people call it green comet milkweed. By whatever name, the plant’s hemispheres of flowers are distinctive. I found this one on July 7th along W. Courtyard Dr., a place where I don’t remember ever taking pictures before.

In this view you get to see both flowers and buds, plus an ant.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 8, 2015 at 5:13 AM

19 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hey, one I know! It’s good to come across a new place, isn’t it?


    August 8, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    • I just looked up this species at


      and found that it ranges across much of the country (including Long Island, where I grew up), so it seems reasonable that you should be familiar with it. I find it around Austin from time to time, but it’s not the most common milkweed here.

      Yes, a new place is always fun—and important, too, as others that I know have continued to get developed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      • It isn’t that common here, either but I do see it occasionally at Illinois Beach State Park.
        I wish there were a way for Austin to set aside some of its land before it is too late. That must kill you.


        August 8, 2015 at 10:36 AM

        • A fair amount has been set aside in the hills on the west side of town and further west, but the prairie side to the east is generally poorer and therefore gets built on more readily and more densely.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 8, 2015 at 10:39 AM

  2. This is one that I have not seen before and your linked map shows why…although there may be a pioneer or two up from CT. Nice image of that ball of flowers. Is that as much as they open and is it odorific?

    Steve Gingold

    August 8, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    • I believe the flowers at the bottom of the hemisphere in this picture are as open as they’re going to get. As for scent, I’m sorry to say I don’t know. The most common milkweed here, Asclepias asperula, produces flower globes that are quite fragrant, so there’s a chance that that wand milkweed is aromatic as well. The next time I come across some of its flowers—which may not be for quite a while—I’ll inhale and find out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2015 at 3:23 PM

  3. How do the monarch butterflies rate it on the tastiness scale?

    Ed Darrell

    August 8, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    • I’m afraid I don’t know, Ed. I did a little online searching but didn’t find an answer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM

      • Great photo. Little entomological mystery to work on. Thanks!

        Ed Darrell

        August 9, 2015 at 1:38 PM

        • I know a lot more etymology than entomology, though I don’t have to know anything about either one to take photographs.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 9, 2015 at 2:33 PM

  4. Another beautiful and interesting weed

    Raewyn's Photos

    August 8, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    • We have several dozen plants here with weed in their names, all with something to recommend them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2015 at 3:28 PM

  5. Very attractive, as the ant would no doubt agree.


    August 8, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    • Yesterday afternoon I read that ants are attracted to this species. In fact I saw a bunch of them scurrying about on the milkweed, even if only one was visible at the split-second when I took this picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 9, 2015 at 4:11 AM

  6. This is an unusual one and a beautiful picture of it. While many regard milkweed as a weed (hence the name I suppose) I’ve a fondness for it because I usually find ladybeetles, aphids and butterflies on them to photograph.


    August 9, 2015 at 4:01 AM

  7. I like the change in the sidebar, where you’re showing photos for your top posts and pages. It’s nice to see one of my favorites there: the clematis and clouds

    There’s a lot to like in this photo, too — especially the subtle colors, and the way the purple of the flowers is repeated in the stem and the very edges of the leaves. Those rippled leaves are pretty special, too. I like the almost sculptural feel of the milkweeds. I’d love to see what Dale Chihuly would do with this one.


    August 9, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    • I agree that the textures and colors of this milkweed (whose subtleties you were good at discerning) would make for an excellent Chihuly piece. If I ever run into him, I’ll suggest it.

      I went to a photographic get-together the other night and someone was talking to me about options in WordPress. I hadn’t looked at the options for my theme in a long time, so I checked and found a couple of things to add, as you noticed. The top posts are chosen by the number of likes, and it’s clear that animals (6 out of 10) tend to win out over plants.

      It would be nice if a click on the Freshly Pressed badge led to the post that got Freshly Pressed, but the widget isn’t that sophisticated.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 9, 2015 at 7:34 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: