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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.

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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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Friday - November 10, 2006

From: Lyons, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Trailing milkvine, Matelea pubiflora, identified from seed pod
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a vine that has a seed pod that looks like okra. Inside the pod is a small flat seed and a cotton-looking fiber. Please help identify, if possible.

ANSWER:

Your plant sounds like one of the Matelea species. There are 8 species of Matelea that are native to Georgia. My guess is that it is Trailing milkvine (Matelea pubiflora) since this species is the only one listed as occurring in Toombs County.

Other species occurring in Georgia are:

Carolina milkvine (M. carolinensis)
Alabama anglepod (M. alabamensis)
Common anglepod (M. gonocarpus)
Oldfield milkvine (M. decipiens)
Baldwin's milkvine (M. baldwyniana)
Yellow Carolina milkvine (M. flavidula)
Climbing milkvine (M. obliqua)

Another plant in the same family, Family Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family), with a similar pod is Honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve).

Another possibility is the non-native Chinese okra or climbing okra (Luffa acutangula). It is an Asian native.

 

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