Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pinewoods Milkweed - Asclepias humistrata   Walter
Members of Apocynaceae:
Members of Asclepias with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Gentianales » Family Apocynaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionEssentially throughout the southern half of the Coastal Plain, especially throughout the Sandhills region; ranges north to Beaufort, Johnston, and Moore counties.

This is a Southern Coastal Plain species that ranges north only to eastern NC, and south to central FL and west to eastern LA.
AbundanceFrequent in the Sandhills region and the southern coastal counties, and infrequent to locally fairly common in most of the central portion of the Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis milkweed requires sandy soil. It is found in pine/scrub oak sandhills, on xeric sand ridges, and other places where exposed sands are found, most often in association with Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris).
PhenologyBlooms from late April into June, and fruits from June into July.
IdentificationThis is one of the more strikingly "odd" plants of sandhills habitats, one in which even the casual observer cannot walk past without noticing. It has relatively stout stems, and several such stems grow outwardly along the ground in various directions. It has 5-8 pairs of triangular to broadly ovate and very "veiny" leaves, each being opposite on the stems and about 3 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. Each leaf is a blue-green in color but has obvious flesh-colored veins, most striking. Also striking is the orientation of the leaves relative to the sun, as they tend to grow with an edge pointed up and thus each leaf tends to face sideways (in a vertical plane) along the sprawling stems. The flower clusters are in the upper leaf axils, each being a very tight "ball" (umbel) about 1.5-2 inches across, populated by a few dozen pink (normally) to whitish petals. Thankfully, this most unusual species, easily identified by its growth form and odd leaves, can be found fairly often during walks in the Sandhills or in other places with considerable amounts of sandy soil.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Sandhills Milkweed (or Sandhill Milkweed), Fleshy Milkweed, Pink-veined Milkplant
State RankS4
Global RankG4G5
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieEastwood, xeric roadbank by NC 73. 22 May 2008. MoorePhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type