Matelea reticulata or Green Milkweed Vine is my choice for Wildflower Wednesday July 2014. Wildflower Wednesday on the fourth Wednesday of each month is when Gail of Clay and Limestone invites garden bloggers to post about native flowering plants in their garden.
The delicate netted flowers with the iridescent pearl centers make it easy to see why Pearl Milkweed is also one of its common names.
I was thrilled to discover this deciduous, vining milkweed growing in the woods across the creek last summer and even more pleased to find several plants appearing along our property line this year. We had transplanted a few and scattered seeds sent by a friend though some of the vines may have been there for a while. It's not a foliage standout and not the most distinctive plant in the woods since it mostly blends in as it does here by growing on the Texas persimmons between the oaks. We also recently removed some hackberries and other obnoxious plants to allow room for nice natives to grow along the creek.
Now that I know to look for those heart-shaped leaves I'm finding it in the perennial beds and all over the place.
It seems to do best with morning sun and afternoon shade from the trees. Among the butterflies known to lay eggs on the Matelea reticulata is the Monarch. I spotted a Monarch in the garden this week so maybe the presence of these vines near the butterfly garden will help them along. The vine also plays host to the Queen butterfly of which there are literally hundreds in the garden this summer. I'll keep a lookout for butterfly eggs on the vines soon.
Those tiny flowers produce a large seed pod about three inches in length.
The pod dries and splits to reveal silky threads and the seeds.
The dried pods are a stand-out against the green foliage of native plants along the creek.
As with many of the other native plants I discover in my garden Matelea reticulata is native to just a few counties in Central, South and West Texas. It's a nice trade-off we have with our tough climate--special plants designed to grow where many nursery plants will not.
And the deer ignore it which is another bonus.
Check out Clay and Limestone where Gail is featuring the very tall Cup Plant for Wildflower Wednesday.