Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jones County, Georgia: Yellow Carolina Milkvine (Matelea flavidula)

April 21th, 2012. We returned to the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on a routine visit using our previous route. Since we had found both the Maroon Carolina Milkvine (Matelea carolinensis) and the Yellow Carolina Milkvine (Matelea flavidula) growing and blooming by the roadside in Hancock County, Georgia, we were looking for these milkvines in the Piedmont NWR. We found the Maroon Carolina Milkvine in several locations on Starr Road in the Oconee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) north of the WMA. We had about given up when we noticed a group of vines growing by the pine forest. Even from the road, I thought I could see a cluster of light-colored flowers.

There were, indeed, several vines of the Yellow Carolina Milkvine (Matelea flavidula) growing with vines of the Maroon Carolina Milkvine (Matelea carolinensis). It was reasonable dark when we photographed these, so I was using artificial light (not flash). These photographs have been sharpened slightly to compensate for the low light. Flowers on some vines had slightly more maroon coloring than others.

A cluster of blooms. These blooms had tinges of maroon in the centers.

A closer view of a cluster of blooms.

Close ups of an individual bloom

A cluster of blooms with very little maroon color from another vine.

A closer view of blooms.

A close up of the back side of these blooms.

Matelea flavidula is known by the common names Yellow Carolina Milkvine, Yellow Spinypod. This species is native to the United States where it grows from Virginia to Mississippi. This species is considered to be rare in Georgia where it has only been officially documented in Effingham and Baker counties (USDA Plants Database) and Pulaski, Appling, Wayne, Baker and Decatur counties (University of North Carolina Herbarium). Alan Cressler has found the species in Houston (here and here) and Cook counties.

These finds of Matelea flavidula in Hancock and Jones counties suggest that this species is more widely distributed in Georgia than previously documented. It will be interesting to see if we find this species in other counties in this area of Georgia.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

Name that Plant. Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Matelea flavidula (Yellow Spinypod)
Allan Cressler: Matelea flavidula

- Houston county:
Short petal and long petal
- Cook County

- USDA Plants Database: Matelea flavidula (Yellow Carolina Milkvine)

- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Matelea flavidula

Related Posts
- Hancock County, Georgia: Yellow Carolina Milkvine (Matelea flavidula)

- Maroon Carolina Milkvine (Matelea carolinensis)

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