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blakrab

Fluffy Seeds & Spiky Seedpod?

blakrab Centex
2 months ago

This ~2.5" long seedpod with fluffy seeds was found at a local hike & bike trail park. What is it?



Comments (22)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Is the 'pod' attached to the side of that stem? If so I'm inclined to think it's a gall and that the thistledown is not coming from it. Unless, of course you broke one open and the seeds were inside it.

  • Jay 6a Chicago


    Milkweed, but which species??? Do you know which Asclepias are common to that area? Syriaca pods are warty like that. Checking.

    https://www.growmilkweedplants.com/arkansas.html

    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Blakrab, I'm pretty sure it's Asclepias syriaca. That is the only species with warty seedpods. We share all the same milkweed species, except for a couple minor differences. Illinois doesn't have obovata and Arkansas doesn't have speciosa. What's interesting is that Asclepias hirtella is a subspecies of Asclepias longifolia, and the hirtella ranges much further than the longifolia, even going up into Canada. The longifolia ranges only in the southeast coastal. You have both versions, very cool. What's the most common milkweed by you? Up here here it's syriaca. It's everywhere.



    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    OK. Never having seen a milk weed pod, although I considered it, I thought the OP's was the wrong shape ie too round. But I'm happy to be corrected by people who've actually seen one!

    blakrab Centex thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Your Hoya carnosa has never bloomed and made seed pods floral? Nobody grows milkweeds over there? I know of a couple Brits who got the milkweed fever. Would they be outcasts?

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    My H carnosa blooms its head off. But it never produces pods. There are no native milkweeds here and, although they appear to be available, I've never seen them in a garden. From what I read I think they can be temperamental in our climate.

    blakrab Centex thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • Jay 6a Chicago

    You probably don't have the necessary insects for pollination. This link is about European countries that have introduced asclepias species.

    http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/agrawal/2018/12/08/milkweeds-but-not-monarchs-in-europe-natural-and-cultural-history-and-a-modest-proposal/


    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Like floral, I think the pods are too round to be Asclepias syriaca. I also question the fluff, as milkweeds have large enough seeds that if they were milkweeds, the large seeds should be visible, but they aren’t or are seeds smaller than milkweed.

    I would love to have Blakrab return and answer a question or two starting with the ones floral asked about whether the pod is attached to the stem and whether he knows whether the fluff came from the pod. IME, Jay’s photo of winter milkweed is typical.

    blakrab Centex thanked NHBabs z4b-5a NH
  • Skip1909

    I collected some common milkweed seeds this fall. Not all of the fluff has a seed attached. The pictures don't show all the profiles of the seed pod either and it could be more elongated than is shown. I hesitated to suggest common milkweed because of the roundness, but wouldn't rule it out either.

    blakrab Centex thanked Skip1909
  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Question away. It's Asclepias syriaca, final answer. There's a lot of variability in the pod shapes. Only Calotropis and hairy balls have 'round' pods and that's not what we have here. Most of the seeds were already dispersed. It's normal to see silk and not seeds. If blackrab would have searched the ground he would have found syriaca seeds. I'd get pictures, but they closed off the prairie. Another thing, the seedpods warp and bend after dropping, giving their pods a more 'rounded' appearance. Any questions?

    A white flowering variant of Asclepias syriaca.

    It's all based on the spiky pods. If it wasn't for those, it would be up for grabs. There are 3 species of Matelea with spiky seedpods also in Arkansas. M. decipiens, M. cynanchoides, and M. baldwyniana. They have pods that are usually longer and narrower than A. syriaca imo, but a possibility. The seeds inside the pods are like a support that keeps the pods elongated.



    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • blakrab Centex

    Ah yes, I had suspected a Milkweed...but have never seen this type here before (just Asclepias asperula, oenotheroides, & texana). Here's a few more pics I just took, including with the actual seeds!




  • Jay 6a Chicago

    You are in Texas, my bad. Wow, Texas milkweeds. You have like 30. A lot of rare species that are desperately wanted. Blackrab, do you recall ever seeing syriaca growing anywhere?

    https://www.growmilkweedplants.com/texas.html

    So, we know it's a milkweed. I'm still leaning towards syriaca. In addition to the 35 Asclepias species there are also 15 Matelea species, 5 Cynanchum species, and 1 Gonolobus species.

    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)

    No, we don't know that it is a milkweed. And it is definitely not Asclepias syriaca. A. syriaca fruits are 7-12 cm long, narrowly ovate to ovate and usually arched in outline.


    Blakrab, thanks for those great photos. This one in interesting, so I hope that you can get flowering shots next season.


    blakrab Centex thanked jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)
  • jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)

    I don't know why it is important to mention outside resources. People like Mark have enough on their plates as iNat Curators, etc. This is a specimen that does not have a clear ID. Long discussions about options that may or may not be accurate are counterproductive - especially since blakrab is so good about following up. I'm sure that he has already put this on his 2020 calendar, so we should have an easy answer next summer.

    blakrab Centex thanked jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)
  • blakrab Centex

    No, I have not seen Asclepias syriaca anywhere here before...which is why I didn't recognize this!


    Problem is that most ID guides only show the flowers/leaves...but not the seedpods!

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Until this year, I had never seen Asclepias purpurescens or A. hirtella growing wild in my area. But they were there all the time.

    Asclepias syriaca. Not 100%, but leaning that way. Just happy it's a milkweed that's helping Monarchs.


    apologies to most esteemed mentors!

    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • blakrab Centex

    Or how about Baldwin’s Climbing Milkweed (Matelea baldwyniana)?


  • Jay 6a Chicago

    It's possible. There are 15 species of Matelea in Texas, a few other milkweed vines and 35 Asclepias species. I still haven't seen every seedpod from every Texas species, tho I may be forced to. Some matelea pods have deep grooves and some have those sharp horns. Maybe the horns worn down on the pod in question, and that's why it looks to me more like a syriaca pod hehe.


    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Blackrab, it could be a Matelea species. There are 15 Matelea species in Texas. Probably more likely than syriaca and maybe why there aren't any significant plant remains left. I can't give a species ID for it. I did see another picture of Baldwin's that looked more like your specimen and probably all of the 15 Matelea species have similar pods. AFIK there are 61 milkweeds native to Texas. Asclepias 35, Matelea 15, Cynanchum 5, Funastrum 5. Gonolobus 1. I think you got it. You didn't send out a sample for DNA testing did you?

    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • blakrab Centex

    ^^ Haha, no...I am pretty sure it is some type of Matelea....but there's quite a few similar ones. Another contender would be Matelea biflora (Purple Milkweed Vine), as I'm not sure how it differs from Baldwin’s Climbing Milkweed?

  • Jay 6a Chicago

    Unfortunately, with no green plant material to work with, it's almost impossible to say which species of Matelea it is for sure. Some species climb, and others are prostrate., and there are other differences. You can look at the entries on this i. nat link to see if any observations were made in the area you found this pod. That still doesn't mean that it's M. biflora. There could be other Matelea species nearby. Nice pictures in the link! And, perhaps there are no people making observations in that area also? Did you collect any seeds? You can grow them, and then have it ID'd? Maybe someone can ID Matelea pods, but I can't

    https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=18&taxon_id=165186

    Milkweed maps created by Brad Grimm. Thanks Brad!🤠

    Matelea biflora
    Matelea baldwyniana
    Hello, goodbye.

    blakrab Centex thanked Jay 6a Chicago

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