Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
6 ratings

Friday - September 11, 2009

From: Whitehouse, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Milkweed with the biggest pods in Smith County, TX?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in East Texas and I would like to know which of the milkweed plants bears the largest seed pod. I would also like to know the best time to locate the pods in and around the Smith County area.

ANSWER:

Texas is rich in milkweeds, Asclepias spp.  Of the 75 species of milkweeds that occur in the US, more than half (42) can be found in Texas.  At least 10 native milkweed species occur in and around Smith County, in east Texas' Pineywoods ecoregion. 

Asclepias amplexicaulis (clasping milkweed) bears follicles (seed pods) 10-16 cm long and 1-2 cm in diameter in the summer.  Asclepias asperula (spider milkweed) bears follicles 4-13 cm long, 1-2.5 cm in diameter from spring through summer.  Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) produces follicles 7-9 cm long, 1.2 cm in diameter in summer and fall.  Asclepias obovata (pineland milkweed) has seed pods to 12 cm or more in length from early summer to early fall.  Asclepias rubra (red milkweed) bears follicles 8-12 cm long and 1-1/2 cm in diameter in summer.  Asclepias stenophylla (slimleaf milkweed) produces seed pods 9-12 cm long in summer.  Asclepias tomentosa (tuba milkweed) forms follicles 10-12 cm long in late summer and fall.  Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) makes seed pods 8-15 cm long and 1 to 1-1/2 cm in diameter from spring til autumn.  Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed) bears follicles 7-10 cm long and 5-8 mm in diameter from spring until early fall.  Finally, Asclepias viridis (green antelopehorn) produces follicles 6-13 cm in length and 2-3 cm in diameter from spring through early fall.

So Asclepias amplexicaulis may make the champion milkweed pods in your area based on length.  If you factor in girth to find the most massive milkweed follicle, then Asclepias viridis my win by a nose.

Not every species listed here necessarily occurs in Smith County.  However, they have all been collected no farther away than one of the counties adjacent to yours.  So, if conditions are favorable, you might expect to find any of them there.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Will native Galium aparine be a problem in Austin garden?
March 25, 2014 - Should I be concerned that my yard is overrun with "sticky weed" (Galium aparine) in the early spring? Specifically, about five years ago I undertook converting about half my back yard into a na...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native daylilies from Albuquerque
May 05, 2013 - Need some tips on planting daylilies in the Northeast heights of Albuquerque. I've amended clay soil with cottonbur mulch/compost mix and added gypsum. Can I do anything else to ensure growing succes...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a yellow-flowered wildflower with prickly burs
May 20, 2013 - Hi there. We have seen a wildflower, probably invasive, that is at least in Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties. We have tried to identify it without success, The structure of the plant is remark...
view the full question and answer

What is the black stuff growing on my thoroughwort?
October 27, 2015 - What is the black stuff on my thoroughwort plant's leaves that is killing the plant?
view the full question and answer

Planted bluebonnets won't prosper in Bluff Dale, TX.
April 24, 2013 - I have planted bluebonnet seed several years (this last year we planted inoculated seed) always the same results -germination, growth to 4-6 leaf stage, then very pale stunted growth, bronzing. soil t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.