Asclepias humistrata


 species synonym(s) 
 common name(s) pinewoods milkweed
 native to 
 zone hardiness 
 life cycle
 perennial, often occurs in naturally fire managed habitats
 height 
 width 
 light requirements full sun, dappled shade
 soil requirements very sandy soil
 water requirements consistent moisture
 reproduction by seed, cannot tolerate being transplanted
 germination no pretreatment required
 difficulty slow to mature
 relationships host plant for milkweed dependent insects, rats are known to eat small plants


Experience | Opinion | Impression
I have been fascinated by this milkweed since I have learned of its existence. I'm not sure what I find interesting about it. I have been to Florida to see it in its natural habitat. I have spoken with three native plant growers that have essentially given up on trying to grow it.

In its native habitat of pine woods, hardwood growth always threatens to shade it out, which is why fire is required in these locations for maintaining these populations. It sometimes occurs in yards that are mowed, and if not cut back by the land owners the specimens can reach their maximum size due to the lack of competition. I wish I had stopped and taken photos of those plants in peoples yards that had mowed around them.

North Carolina Botanical Garden at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a specimen in their "Coastal Plain and Sandhills Habitat Gardens" display, which had a lot of sand trucked in to create the habitat. We visited in 2009 and 2010, and both times saw the specimen in mature form, though nothing like the size in a few yards in Florida, but still bigger than the plants I saw in the state parks in Florida.


digital images


 
These top three photos are of the same plant and were taken at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, which is at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is growing in the "Coastal Plain and Sandhills Habitat Gardens". The top photo was taken on one visit, and the other two were taken on another visit to the garden.

 
These are two photos of the same specimen taken from different angles. The left photo has my camera bag that gives some proportion to how small this specimen is, and it had matured a seed pod and released the seed.
 
Here is another specimen about 100 yards from the one pictured above. It has about three pods, and one is releasing seed. I believe the reason why the hue of the plant has more blue is due to cloud cover passing overhead at the time.


These next six photos were taken at the same location on two occasions. Many times, and in this case, I went hiking at a state park, and found these milkweeds growing outside the boundary of the park. These happened to be growing in a power line right of way.
 
These two photos are of the same plant, which is clearly doing well. The power line right of way was obviously maintained by mowing, but the milkweed plants were all at different stages of growth. One looked like it had set seed early and released its seed a week or two before I visited. This one appears that it will successfully release its seed.
 
 
These two specimens were in the same right of way clearing for power lines. It was next to a nature preserve which had a billboard with some history. The right of way clearing used to be grazed by some cattle from the neighboring ranch, but that had been fenced off and now is maintained by mow. In either case, cattle or mowing, it seems the species does fine. There were other specimens in the same location, such as the one specimen pictured in the previous two photos.

 
These two photos are of the same plant. The left photo shows one of the plant's four stems, this stem had flowered and at least one of the flowers is now developing a seed pod. The right photo is focusing on the base of the plant stems... it is hard to make out but there are four stems plus some other type of shrub growing out the same tight spot.


pertinent hyperlinks
USDA PLANTS Profile
Hawthorn Hill Native Wildflower and Rare Plant Nursery
Dave's Garden
Alabama Plants
Gardening in Central Florida (blog)
Southeastern Flora
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center
Wildflowers of the Escambia
Florida Native Plant Society, plant profile
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