Is this possible? Hundreds of swamp milkweed?

catherinet(5 IN)May 22, 2011

We have 30+ acres and have always had common milkweed scattered around. I have a wet area out by the chicken coop and decided to plant swamp milkweed. So I went out and bought 2 1 gallon containers of them.

On our evening golfcart ride around the property, DH says "Look..we have alot of milkweed this year". It was thick, in an area about 30'x30'. But it wasn't the usual milkweed with the wider leaves. It had thinner leaves. Then it hit me......it looks just like the stuff I planted last year, about 200' away, on the other side of some trees.

Is it possible that these are from those 2 swamp milkweed plants' seeds that I planted just last summer?

Maybe we just weren't paying attention in years past.....but I doubt it.

Maybe it was the incredible wetness this spring? I even had morels growing in my yard near my house this year! I've heard of others around here having morels for the first time ever too.

If the swamp milkweed are growing because of the wet spring, how will they do if it gets dry this summer? They are in a very dry area in the field.

It would be awesome if they all grew!!

Thanks.

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catherinet(5 IN)

I'm wondering.....is it possible that common milkweed has slightly thinner leaves, in its first year?
Does milkweed grow from the previous year's growth, once its established?
I'm almost hoping its the common type, since the area gets very dry. It could be the common type, since we had tons of milkweed seeds last year. Its an unbelievably huge area of it. Can't wait!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 12:11PM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

Does milkweed grow from the previous year's growth, once its established?

Yes, definitely.

Swamp milkweed has a definite sharp tip at the end of its leaves, whereas common has more rounded leaves even in the seedlings.

Do you have any pictures? Do the leaves definitely exude the white latex sap?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 3:36PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I just took a pic of it. And yes, milk came out of the torn leaf. I think its swamp milkweed. What do you think?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 4:04PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I would be surprised if you already have that many mature plants in just one year. Certainly you could have that many seedlings, if seeds fell on moist soil. I know I have hundreds of seedlings every year in my yard. But, however they got there, that's wonderful for the butterfly world. Everybody likes to nectar on milkweed of any sort. Congrats!

Martha

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 5:46PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

DH mowed this field of weeds maybe a month ago. Maybe he mowed it at just the right time, to let some milkweed that was already growing there, take off above the other weeds.
I hope the weeds don't overtake them. We grow weeds here big enough for firewood!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 7:41PM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

Huh. It *looks* like Swamp Milkweed. But it's inconceivable that those mature plants are new seedlings.

I wonder whether you might not be looking at Dogbane. The two look rather similar when young.

How interesting!

Jeff

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 8:01PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hmmmm....I've looked up Dogbane and it does look like Swamp Milkweed. But....I think I've seen the Dogbane here too and it looks a bit different. The leaves aren't as shiny as the Dogbane.
Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see, before we can solve this mystery!
Is Dogbane good for anything? We're pretty good here for raising tons of invasives.
This field is usually covered in weeds. Whatever it is, we may have overlooked it for a long time and just noticed this now, since DH mowed awhile back.
I'll let you know what it ends up being!
Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 8:38PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

For what it's worth, it doesn't look like the swamp milkweed I've planted at various times through the years - swamp milkweed leaves have straight sides with a point on the end. Your milkweed has slightly wavy edges, at least on the older leaves. Also, my swamp milkweed didn't have any 'milk'.
I'll guess that it's Asclepias viridis/green milkweed.
Sherry

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:03PM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

Dogbane is a nice nectar plant, much like the milkweeds. But Monarchs can't eat it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 7:17AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Darn, I think you're right Jeff. After looking at more pics online and going back out and checking it, they do have a reddish stem. So I think it is Dogbane. Oh well......it was fun for awhile, thinking it was all milkweed!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 10:35AM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

That's a pretty good second prize, though. I've got pics of Great Spangled Frits, Gray Hairstreaks, Silver-Spotted Skippers, Monarchs, and more on dogbane.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:33PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Okay then. I won't feel so bad now! :)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:47PM
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ericwi

I think the photo is of milkweed, not dogbane. I was able to identify a patch of dogbane in one of our local parks a few years ago, and the central vein in each leaf was definitely tinted red, not white. The leaf shape is not quite right for swamp milkweed, nor common milkweed, nor orange butterfly milkweed. There are supposed to be around 100 varieties of milkweed, so it is likely some other variety. Please post a photo when it flowers. My guess would be that your milkweed will do just fine competing with the grasses that surround it in the field.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 10:40PM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

Eric, you may well be right. But just as a point of info, the dogbane near me has white veins in the leaves.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 11:32PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Here's a link to pictures of several milkweeds. If you scroll down a bit, you can see a picture of A. viridis/green milkweed.
Sherry

Here is a link that might be useful: Asclepias viridis/Green Milkweed

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 11:34PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I don't know Sherry.....the leaves in that pic aren't quite as pointed as the ones on my plants.
One of the plants is already making flowers (tiny ones...but they're there). Hopefully that will help with the I.D.
Although I think the flowers of Dogbane are similar to the Green Milkweed.
The thing that's making me lean towards Dogbane is the red in the main stems.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 8:17AM
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ericwi

Jrcagle, you are correct, the leaf veins in dogbane are white, and it is the stems that develop a distinct red color, as the plant matures. Also, the leaves never develop the deep green color that most varieties of milkweed display. Why is the plant called dogbane? Does it repel dogs?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 11:37AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

The Internet says that its poisonous to dogs. Seems like it would be poisonous to most animals. Maybe the person who first named it had dogs who ate it and got sick?? I always wonder how names get started!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 12:20PM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

I'm pulling this post back up because I've read this story, and am now dying to know if you really ended up with milkweed instead of dreaded dogbane! ;) What's the verdict?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 9:24PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Its dogbane. Lots and lots of dogbane.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:16AM
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