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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This perennial wildflower is 2-6' tall and usually unbranched. The central stem is light green to purplish green, terete, and glabrous. Opposite pairs of leaves about 3-8" long and 1-3" across occur along this stem; they are lanceolate-elliptic to ovate and smooth along their margins. Both the tips and bottoms of the leaves are wedge-shaped, rather than rounded. The upper leaf surface is medium to dark green and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale to medium green and glabrous (or nearly so). The leaves are widely spreading and remain more or less the same size along the stem. The distinct petioles are ½-2" long and light green. The foliage contains a milky latex. The stem terminates in one or more umbels of flowers spanning 2-4" across. The umbels are relatively open and the flowers droop somewhat from their pedicels. Each flower is about ¼" across and ½" long, consisting of 5 petals that hang downward, 5 curved cylindrical hoods that surround a central column, and the reproductive organs. The insignificant sepals are hidden by the petals. Each hood has an exerted horn. The flowers are bicolored
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Poke Milkweed is widely distributed across Illinois, but it is relatively uncommon. Illinois lies along the western range limit of this species. Habitats consist of woodland openings, rich mesic woodlands, sandy woodlands, upland rocky woodlands, wooded slopes, areas along paths in woodlands, and woodland borders. Poke Milkweed is found in deciduous woodlands where oaks, maples, and similar trees are dominant.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Poke Milkweed is widely distributed across Illinois, but it is relatively uncommon. Illinois lies along the western range limit of this species. Habitats consist of woodland openings, rich mesic woodlands, sandy woodlands, upland rocky woodlands, wooded slopes, areas along paths in woodlands, and woodland borders. Poke Milkweed is found in deciduous woodlands where oaks, maples, and similar trees are dominant.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers of Poke Milkweed attract bumblebees and butterflies, including the Monarch and Great Spangle Fritillary butterflies. These insects suck nectar from the flowers. Other insects feed on the foliage, flower tissues, seedpods, pith of the stems, or plant juices. The following beetles have been found on Poke Milkweed
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Flower-Visiting Insects of Poke Milkweed in Illinois

Asclepias exaltata (Poke Milkweed)
(all insects suck nectar; observations are from Broyles & Wyatt)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus sp. sn (BW)

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Danaus plexippus sn (BW), Speyeria aphrodite alcestis sn (BW), Speyeria cybele sn (BW), Vanessa cardui sn (BW)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Asclepias exaltata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Asclepias exaltata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is partial or dappled sunlight, mesic conditions, and a rich loam or sandy loam with organic matter. The location should be protected from prevailing winds.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Wikipedia

Asclepias exaltata

Asclepias exaltata is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae known by the common names poke milkweed and tall milkweed. It is native to eastern North America. It blooms from late spring to early summer. The flowers are green and white. Poke milkweed is found in moist woodland habitats. It grows in moist soil and sunny or partly shaded places. It grows from 0.6 to 1.5 meters tall (2–5 feet).[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cullina, W. (2000). Wildflowers: A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America. The New England Wildflower Society. ISBN 0-395-96609-4

Other websites[edit]


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