WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Round clusters of creamy flowers tip the stem ends of this 1–3-foot tall, clump-forming to spreading plant with milky sap. Note the narrow, lance-shaped leaves.


FLOWERS: March–October. Greenish-creamy flowers in round clusters (umbel) 3–4-inches (7.6–10 cm) diameter; 5 erect, petal-like lobes cup around 5 arching reddish to greenish hoods that surround the anther column. The slender, smooth (no pointed bumps), horn-shaped seed pods, 2–5-inches long (5–13 cm), with S-shaped stems give the plant its name; dry pods split open to release a mass of flat seeds attached to fluffy hairs.


LEAVES: Irregularly spaced, clustered, blades narrow, lance-shaped, 2–7 1/2-inches (5–19 cm) long, 1/4–1-inch (6–27 mm) wide, often folded lengthwise along midrib. The leaves contain a high concentration of cardiac glycosides, which Monarch butterfly caterpillars concentrate to protect the adult butterfly from bird predators.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, loam soils, roadsides; desert grasslands and scrub, pinion-juniper, pine-oak woodlands.


ELEVATION: 4,500–8,200 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, NE, NV, NM, OK, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The erect (not folded backwards) petals, reddish hoods, smooth pods, and slender leaves help separate this milkweed from the 32 species of Asclepias in NM.


NM COUNTIES: Low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats: statewide (except Chaves, De Baca, Guadalupe, Lea, Roosevelt).

ANTELOPE  HORNS  MILKWEED

ASCLEPIAS  ASPERULA

Dogbane Family, Apocynaceae (formerly Milkweed Family, Asclepiadaceae)

Perennial herb

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Smooth pod with S-shaped stem (arrow).

Reddish hood of flower (horns absent).

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