Sunday, September 19, 2010

Green Comet Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora)

Asclepias viridiflora is known by the common names Green Comet Milkweed, Green Milkweed, or Green Antelopehorn Milkweed. We first found this plant at the side of a gravel road in Wilkes County, Georgia. Since then, after thinking that I should walk our field to see what might be hiding in the grass, I’ve found it in our field. We’ve found it by the side of another gravel road in rural, southeast Walton County. It grows as single stems approximately 18 to 24 inches tall. It was just beginning to bloom in mid June.

The road in Wilkes County where we found the first plant. It’s about 1/3 the distance from the bottom of the photo and slight left of center. It was not obvious. I just noticed a plant stem that ‘didn’t look right.'

A closer view. The stalk leans from the lower right to the upper left of the photo.

The plants in our field. It’s the thick stem and ‘odd-shaped’ leaves that gave it away but they weren't obvious..

A clearer view of the stem in Wilkes County.

A close view of the leaves; they are opposite.

The buds are just forming at the top of the stem.

Buds a little further developed.

A couple of florets have opened. The sepals are starting to split open to expose the other florets.

All of the florets are open. The sepals have folded back against the floret giving them a comet effect.

A view of the florets in profile.

Older florets that are past their best.

The stem showing developing buds at the top to florets that are disintegrating at the bottom.

Postscript. We checked all locations where we’d found plants and could find no evidence that spindle-shaped follicle seedpods had formed on any of them.

Asclepias viridiflora
(Green Comet Milkweed) is native to the United States and Canada. In the United States it grows in most states except the Pacific Coast states, Idaho, Colorado and Nevada.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

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

- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Asclepias viridiflora

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Green Comet Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora)

- Missouri Plants: Asclepias viridiflora

- Illinois Flowers: Short Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora)

Related posts:
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index

- Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)


Terry said...

What a beautiful series of photographs!!! I was looking for real life pics of Asclepias GREEN COMET viridiflora because I was considering purchasing it. Your pics closed the deal! (grin)

JSK said...

Glad this helped.
Sadly, the county regraded this road early this year and this plant may not have survived.
I checked the two plants in our field yesterday and both are about 8" tall. I expect they'll bloom; if only they can attract fertilizers and produce seed this year!