WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Living up to its Latin name for “showy,” round clusters of rose to pink flowers decorate the stems of this 2–4-foot tall milkweed. White-woolly hairs cover the plant throughout and the sap is milky. Note the pointed warty prickles that cover the seed pods.


FLOWERS: June–August. Round clusters from the terminal end and leaf axils; flowers have 5 petal-like lobes bent backwards against the stem with the tips spreading, 5 radiating rose to pink, lance-shaped hoods 3/8–5/8-inch long (10–15 mm); narrow, thin horns arch over the central column (see photo). Fruit is slender pod covered with warty prickles that dries and splits to release seeds with silky tufts of hair.


LEAVES: Opposite, broadly to narrowly oval, 2 3/8–7 3/4-inches long, densely covered with white-woolly hairs, strong parallel veins spread from the mid-rib.


HABITAT: Sandy, rocky soils, riparian, grasslands, meadows, roadsides; shortgrass prairies to ponderosa-yellow pine woodlands.


ELEVATION: 4,500–8,400 feet.


RANGE: Widespread throughout western U. S.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 32 species of milkweed in NM. The large, oval leaves and showy clusters of pinkish flowers and seed pods covered with warty prickles distinguish this species.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread in low- to mid-elevation habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Colfax, Grant, Guadalupe, Harding, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union, Valencia..

SHOWY  MILKWEED

ASCLEPIAS  SPECIOSA

Dogbane Family, Apocynaceae (formerly Milkweed Family, Asclepiadaceae)

Perennial herb

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  1. 1.Hoods of flower (upper arrow)

  2. 2. Horns inside hoods. (lower arrow)

Warty prickles cover seed pod.

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