Friday, August 26, 2011

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa): Yellow Variant

While driving south from Pond 2A in the Piedmont National Wildlife Area in Jones County, Georgia, we spotted this. Even at a distance we could tell it was a Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Asclepias tuberosa flowers are usually bright orange so we had to take a closer look.

A little closer…

And closer still. Clearly a Butterfly Milkweed plant.

The leaves were alternate

The flowers from the top

From the side…

And closer still.

Corpuscula that connect the pollinia via translators are visible between the hoods on several florets and missing from others.

This, clearly, is a yellow variant of Asclepias tuberosa. Earlier in the year we saw a plant with yellow-orange flowers over by the Woodpecker Trail but this is the first clearly yellow variant of this species we've seen in Georgia.
Yellow flowers have been reported elsewhere.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed)

- University of North Carolina Herbarium:
Asclepias tuberosa

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora:
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia:
Asclepias tuberosa

Related posts:

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index

- Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)


A.L. Gibson said...

I love the Asclepias', one of my favorite genera of plants. I came across some yellow colored Butterfly milkweed variants this summer. Just as beautiful as your normal orange ones...maybe a bit more!

JSK said...

I agree. With the yellow being even more beautiful than the orange - hence the interest in whether it produces seeds. Asclepias are on the top of my list of favorites at the moment. Fascinated by the pollinia and the possibility of pollinating flowers.
Also on a quest for mateleas at the moment too. Finding M. gonocarpa frequently now. Next flowering season, going to have to look for the other species that occur here.

forestwalk/laura k said...

very nice blog!
i had just been googling some plants here in FL and came across your blog. i just wanted to drop a note and let you know i;ll be back to wander more...
i too, am fascinated by all the little things in nature. have a great day!

JSK said...

Thanks Laura. You're welcome back any time. Enjoy! I'll be dropping by 'your place.'