Asclepias meadii Torr. - Mead's Milkweed

Asclepias meadii plant

Family - Asclepiadaceae

Stems - Glabrous, glaucous, herbaceous, erect, to +/-40cm tall, from a thin rhizome, terete.

Asclepias meadii stem

Leaves - Opposite, sessile, lanceolate, spreading, to 8cm long, 4cm broad, glabrous (margins sometimes ciliate), entire, acute to acuminate, sometimes with a slightly wavy margin.

Asclepias meadii leafAdaxial surface of leaf.

Asclepias meadii leafAbaxial surface of leaf.

Inflorescence - Single terminal umbel of +/-15 flowers. Umbel nodding. Pedicels to 2cm long, typically pubescent.

Asclepias meadii inflorescence

Flowers - Petals 5, greenish or with some purple tinge, to 9mm long, ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, glabrous. Sepals 5, reflexed, green to purplish tinged, to 4mm long, pubescent. Hoods greenish, to 5mm long. Horns arching over and resting upon the anther column.

Asclepias meadii flower

Asclepias meadii flower

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Prairies and glades.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking little species is rare in Missouri and is an endangered species in North America. It can be found in just a handful of Missouri counties. The plant responds well in areas that burn regularly and perhaps bringing fire back into management will help make this species more common. It likes rocky open areas with little competition from larger plants.

Photographs taken at Taum Sauk Mountain, MO., 6-1-03.


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