Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Longleaf Milkweed - Asclepias longifolia   Michaux
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Section 6 » Order Gentianales » Family Apocynaceae
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AuthorMichaux
DistributionScattered over the southern half of the Coastal Plain, east of the Sandhills region; ranges north to northern Dare, Beaufort, Pitt, and Johnston counties. As it ranges north into southeastern VA, is certainly could occur in the northern Coastal Plain near the VA border.

This is a Southern Coastal Plain species, ranging formerly to DE (and now to southeastern VA), south to southern FL and west to eastern TX.
AbundanceRare to very uncommon in the Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) zone from Craven County southwest to Brunswick and Columbus counties. Very rare away from the more coastal counties. The NCNHP considers it as a Watch List species.
HabitatThis is a species of pine savannas and pine flatwoods, for the most part. It can be found along damp wooded margins, at least in acidic soils at the edges of pine stands or pocosin margins.
See also Habitat Account for Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands
PhenologyBlooms in May and June, and fruits in June and July.
IdentificationThis is a medium-sized milkweed, growing mainly unbranched to about 2' tall. Unlike many milkweeds, this species has a very large number of paired opposite leaves, so many as to not be easily countable. They are essentially linear, about 4-5" long and barely 1/5" wide. It has a few rounded flower clusters (umbels) from the upper parts of the stem and leaf axils, each cluster about 1.5" across. The flowers are quite narrow and almost appear closed (not spreading as in many other species); they are a mixture of purplish and white -- the corolla is white with a purple tip, and the corona (top portion) is purplish. Though the flower cluster at a distance isn't overly spectacular and strongly colored to catch much attention, up close the cluster is quite intricate with its odd color pattern. This species is just scarce enough to require some to considerable effort to find in well-managed natural areas (with prescribed fire), though not quite so rare as to be state listed.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Savanna Milkweed (a name generally assigned to one or more additional species)
State RankS2S3
Global RankG4G5
State StatusW1
US Status
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