Swamp Milkweed Plants

Swamp Milkweed Plants

Swamp Milkweed Plants

Fascinating and rare, momordica balsamifera or swamp milkweed plants are beautiful, yet also often poisonous. Luckily, the plant does have allergen-less flowers.As a tall herbaceous moisture-loving perennial, Swamp milkweed seeks sunny openings of swamps, marshes, bogs, fens, and open areas along stream banks and ditches. This robust and erect stemmed plant grows three to five feet high, and like its common milkweed cousin, exudes a milky juice when broken.



The fragrant umbelled clusters of flowers range in color from soft mauve to pink to reddish-violet. Five tiny delicate petals are crowned with five nectar cups that are crucial in its intricate pollination. Within each small cup is an upward curving horn. An insect landing on the blossom slips on the horn. Its leg goes into a slit between the cups and picks up pollen. The same process is repeated as it visits other blossoms. Carrying its pollinia like large saddlebags, it then deposits them to fertilize other plants (sometimes insects are not strong enough to pull their feet out of the slits and they are trapped there and die).

The fruit/seeds of the milkweed are attached to silky down and are encased in long one-chambered follicles, pods really, quite elegant in appearance. When the follicles dry, they split open, releasing the seeds with their downy parachutes to the wind.In order for your milkweed to be able to produce seed pods in the fall, deadhead only the first flush of flowers. A single milkweed plant will produce hundreds of seeds and it is the best way to ensure you have seeds for the following year! Learn more about milkweed seed saving here. Milkweed plants are known to spread so if you do not have room for more milkweed plants, cut the pods off in the fall when the pods are tan and the seeds are coffee brown. You can then give these seeds out to friends and family. (Source: www.saveourmonarchs.org)



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