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

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Saturday - December 18, 2010

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How does Asclepias asperula (antelope horns) respond to fire
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

From your experience with prairie burns, how does Asclepias asperula (antelope horns) respond to fire? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants asked the Wildflower Center's research ecologist, Dr. Mark Simmons, about the response of Asclepias asperula (Antelope horns) to fire and this is what he said:

"We have observed that the ripe fruits will pop open immediately after fire and disperse their seed across the charred landscape. Not sure if this is incipient adaptation to fire, but it is a very interesting response."

Since they weren't tested we can't tell you for sure whether those seeds were viable or if the plants resprouted from the same roots.  However, Mark says that he suspects that they both are viable.

 

From the Image Gallery


Arkansas yucca
Yucca arkansana

Antelope horns
Asclepias asperula

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