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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.

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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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Tuesday - May 29, 2012

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Herbs/Forbs, Vines
Title: Do monarchs like Cynachum laeve in Austin, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have found what I believe is Honeyvine (Cynanchum laeve) growing in my yard here in Austin. I tried using the LBJWC plant data base and could not find it. I also found the plant with a different scientific name - Ampelamus aldibus. Is that the same plant? It sure looks a lot like Matalea reticullata, except or the flowers. They are both milkweeds, but do they host monarchs? Thanks

ANSWER:

Honeyvine  is a native plant, but unfortunately does not appear in our NPIN Database due to administrative problems that will soon be resolved. Ampelamus aldibus is a synonym meaning that you have one plant species with two names. The species is considered invasive  in some areas.

The Green Milkweed Vine Matelea reticulata (Green milkweed vine) is different species, and as you mentioned, the flowers do look different (see photos below). Since plant identification is based largely on the appearance of the flowers, if the flowers are different, the plants are different.

The material that I have found says that monarch caterpillars feed on milkweeds, but doesn’t specify and particular species. From this I would infer that monarchs would eat the milkweeds in question.

photo Cynanchum laeve

photo  Matalea reticulata

 

From the Image Gallery


Pearl milkweed vine
Matelea reticulata

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