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.

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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)

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

  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.

    Reply

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

    Reply

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

    Reply

  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.

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

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