The Other Milkweeds

I find the seed pods of common milkweed visually interesting–my last post was about them.  I thought I would check out some of the other species of milkweed we have, and see what their seed pods look like.


Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, is a tall plant–usually around four feet tall.  It is very attractive to bees, wasps, butterflies, and flies.  I looked in a ditch where I saw this plant this summer.


The pod for swamp milkweed is sort of skinny and smooth, and points upwards.  Compare that to common milkweed, which is fatter, points outwards or down, and has a rough warty texture.  I think the pod I found yesterday is smaller than others I have seen in the past–not as many seeds as I think they normally have.  Still, the seeds look similar.



Whorled milkweed, Asclepias variegata, is a small, somewhat inconspicuous plant that grows in barren areas.  Around here it grows on the edge of the gravel road.


This one also has narrow, upright, pointed pods.  These were further along than some, but the seeds look similar to those of common milkweed.

Finally, Indian hemp, Apocynum cannabinum, is closely related to milkweeds, and has been placed with them sometimes and in a related group by others.  It has small flowers that really attract a number of insects and are great places to practice macro photography.


The seed pods I found on these are long and skinny and point downward.  They have sort of a leathery feel.  None were split open, nor did they easily split open, so I did not get a photo of the seeds.


We have at least three other species of milkweeds around here, but I was not able to locate them or their seed pods.




About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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4 Responses to The Other Milkweeds

  1. Great photos :-), and interesting information. I’ve never grown Asclepias. A friend and I were at the garden center recently, and saw some Asclepias curassavica still in little 4″ pots. They had such an intense color, that she bought 3 and gave me one of them. The butterflies followed us to the car as we loaded them up. Mine is potted and near a window, in a protected area where I’m hoping to keep the root alive through the winter. Should be another great plant to have in the butterfly garden next season. The Asclepias incarnata in your photo is lovely- will be on the lookout for that one in the spring. Cheers! WG

  2. Pingback: Milkweed | Find Me A Cure

  3. Pingback: Asclepias | Find Me A Cure

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