Armchair botanizing for Extreme Milkweeds (Asclepias)

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Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I am jealous, Tim! The only "Asclepias" I grow is a weed, it isn't even a real milkweed (Vincetoxicum rossicum) - and the slugs don't like it either :-\

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Way cool extreme milkweed there Tim! Congratulations.  I really want to grow some of these.  Let us know if the flowers are fragrant, so many Asclepias species are richly perfumed.

Next weekend I'll be vacationing for my 32nd wedding anniversary at a B&B (Bed & Breakfast) in central Vermont, and last time I was there many years ago, there alongside a river's edge were lots of A. virticllata in fine bloom, a smallish elegant species with refined linear foliage like that of Amsonia hubrectii or A. lettermanii and crisp white flowers, to see it is to want it. I will have to remember to pack a trowel  ;)

http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&where...http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=30910http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=31487...look at this seed catalog page, and the awesome upright pods in the last image (click the "Images" tab)http://www.prairiemoon.com/seeds/wildflowers-forbs/asclepias-verticillat...

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Tim, does the wool mean it is not a moisture lover? ???

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

That is a delicate beauty Mark, and makes me want to try these plants even more. And yes, A.vestita is nicely scented up close - I hadn't noticed until your comment. My wife is a good artist and these would make beautiful subjects.

Trond - I've seen a Vincetoxicum species at Wisley in the autumn with superb autumn colour. I can imagine the slugs would leave these plants alone with their milky sap.

Rick - we are growing it in relatively dry sandy soil in a south facing border next to the greenhouse. I've assumed it is not a moisture lover (compared to some of the more vigorous species that are), but we also grow speciosa, again very woolly foliage, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that this does prefer more moisture? I do need to learn more about them in the wild and presumably verticillata, for example, does grow in damper soil?

Dr. Timothy John Ingram Faversham, Kent, UK I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.  

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

All beauties, Mark and tim- I don't think I've seen a milkweed I didn't like :) Alplains has quite a few dryland forms available, I've yet to try, but they are on my 'list' as are some more woodland/edge types Kristl sells.. remains to be seen whether my moist or drier areas will be more effective..None of the native ones make it to my area that I've seen..

happy anniversary, Mark!

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Thanks Cohan.

Regarding milkweeds (Asclepias) one has to be careful with some species, such as Asclepias syriaca found through much of North America except the Western States and Canadian Provinces, a plant that is considered weedy or invasive.  Some species can spread by long underground rhizome, and to eradicate the plant, it requires pulling the incessant sprouting shoots at first sign, for a good number of years until the rhizomes give up. 

Asclepias syriacus is abundant here; I like having the plant at the fringes of the yard for the attractive flower globes, intricate florets, and incredibly sweet fragrance, but NEVER EVER let a seedling take hold in the garden, as it will take years of constant pulling of shoots to weaken the perennating rhizomes.  I doubt there is need of similar caution on the many choice Western American dryland species.

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

cohan
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

I presume syriaca is the species I saw regularly as a 'wild' plant in downtown Toronto, it was a great fave of mine, and I wouldn't even mind having to pull out excess plants :)A speciosa and ovalifolia both occur in Alberta, though just outside my area, but not by that much... A viridiflora is only reported in the extreme south of the province...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

In Minnesota, this photo shows the thickest stand of Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) I've seen in the true wild.  But where humans have disturbed the environment, it can grow very thickly.  That would include roadsides.  I also have seen it grow rather exclusively in the U of Wisconsin arboretum prairie, which is mostly man made, but I think something like 40 years invested in the restoration.  I am not sure what the deal is there.  It could very well be that the species is adapted to other climates better than in Minnesota.

   

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Sadly I planted syraica about about 20 years before Mark's advice! It does spread but our dry climate probably keeps it reasonably under control - in a wilder setting like Rick shows it is very nice to see. I've tried to establish tuberosa several times thinking it would be well suited to our climate, but plants always die out after a few years. There are some good colour variants of this in horticulture though, and maybe more adaptable plants might arise in time - unusually vivid for an asclepias.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram Faversham, Kent, UK I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.  

Tony Willis
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-01

Here is Asclepias syriaca  with an eastern tiger swallowtail feeding on it we saw in early July at the Ontario Botanic Gardens. This was a dry area but we saw quite a bit of it growing in the wild in the damp areas.

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