A Climbing Milkweed

Yes, I got excited over finding this vine.

I knew what it was. It grows on my rural property. It’s a climbing milkweed (Matelea obliqua) and is an Illinois state-threatened plant. The vine prefers to grow in rocky woodlands.

It’s odd that only one vine grew here where I found this one in the woods, up from a small lake. It’s odd too that it was still greenish the middle of November, since they bloom the end of May.

I took this picture on my property on May 23, 2007.

I could have it miss-identified because there were no flowers. There’s another species Matelea dicipiens that grows in 2 of the surrounding counties and isn’t listed in Saline County. It’s state-endangered. The difference between the two is the width of the petals. The one above has 1.5 – 2.5 mm width; the other’s petal width is 3-6 mm. Both bloom at May to June. The one on my property was found and identified by a heritage biologist.

While researching this in my resource books and online, I found out there’s a third species, Matelea gonocarpa, that’s found the southern 1/6th of the state and is endangered. It grows in floodplains, which this location isn’t.

Of course, I may have the vine misidentified all together, and it’s not a milkweed vine. If not, I have no idea what it could be. At least I visited my climbing milkweed vicariously on the hike.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on November 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Your knowledge of nature is outstanding. You leave your impression upon our hearts. Thank you for spreading God’s gift to all the world. EEEEE HAW!!!!! (threw last in for laugh)


    • Thanks so much for your kind comment.
      You crack me up!! Just remember how many years I’ve been with kids, a very good friend or alone … not to mention all the resource books I have.


  2. A nice botany lesson. It matters not if you have not identified the correclty. I misspell words all the time when I comment. I enjoyed the photos a lot. Plants, birds, and animals always amaze me and I like reading what ever you have to say.


  3. Am enjoying your enthusiasm for your botanical finds. Thanks for letting us in on your world.


  4. I know one thing for sure-I’ve never seen a hackberry tree. I’d remember bark like that.


  5. Hmm-the hackberry comment ended up under the climbing milkweed. Oh well-I was going to say that I’ve never seen climbing mikweed either, but I like its blossoms.


    • They tend to blend in with the “thick of things.” It’s nice to have a state threatened plant on my property. I also have an endangered ladies tresses orchid that I blogged during the summer.


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