Sunday, October 16, 2011


September 25th, 2011. We’ve been following some asclpeias and matalea vines in a local wildlife management area. Unfortunately, hunting season has arrived. One of the preparations that the wildlife management folk make for the hunting season is to mow the roadsides and some meadows to allow hunters access. Mowing also lessens the chance that careless hunters, and others, will accidentally set the woods on fire, particularly since many areas are tinder-dry due to the drought we’ve endured for the last couple of years. We keep our fingers crossed that the areas we frequent won’t be mowed before plants go to seed but... Sometime between September 10th and September 25th, they mowed.

It looks neat but…

We’d been following this Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed) plant since May or so when we first found it. 

Watching it bloom without developing seed pods until, finally...

it developed a couple of pretty pods.

This was all that was left of the plant. We hunted around and…

found the remains of just one pod.

Closer inspection showed that the mower blade had neatly sliced the pod and sheared the seeds from the silk. We only found one seed still attached to the silk. Hopefully the mower blade threw some of the seeds back into the woods where they can grow, bloom and develop seeds out of danger or the mowers.

The second group of plants we’d been watching were vines of Matelea gonocarpa (Angularfruit Milkvine) further down the road.

These vines had developed a few pods. We found a couple of pods lying on the ground under the vines. Only one had developed on a vine that had climbed up about a foot above the ground on another plant.

This pod was sliced lengthwise and thrown several meters away.

The pod had shriveled but was still slightly green

The seeds and silk seemed to be mature and ready to be dispersed in the wind.

One pod was still attached to a vine that hadn’t been cut by the mower. Hopefully, it will develop to maturity

Another pod had split so we cut it open further. A single seed with its silk lies beside the pod

Within a few minutes the silk fibers spread and the seed was ready to float away in the breeze.

The seeds arranged in the pod. The raised circular section in the middle of each seed is the actual seed. The ‘serrated’ margin on each seed certainly would help them to catch on vegetation as they blew in the wind.

Mowing roadsides is a necessary evil to help prevent forest fires and some plants pay the price. Hopefully, seeds from these plants survived and will develop into new plants
Click on an image to view a larger image


- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed)

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Matelea gonocarpa (Angularfruit Milkvine)

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed)

- Southeastern Flora: Matelea gonocarpa (Angularfruit Milkvine)

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