Red Milkweed
(Lanceolate Milkweed - Few Flower Milkweed)
Asclepias rubra Linnaeus
Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed) Family

Plant is an upright, extremely tall and slender perennial with milky juice. Preferred habitat is wet sites, fresh to brackish marshes, pine woods and the margin of swamps and flood zones. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are opposite on the stem; linear; three to eight inches long (grass-like); three to six pairs on the stem.

Flowers are in an umbel at the end of a few-branched stem. Corolla is reflexed; dull red and about one-half inch long. Horn is basal; shorter than broad. Flowers occur in the summer.

Fruit is a follicle.

The unusual structure of the flower regulates pollination. Sacs of pollen snag on insects' legs, are pulled from the stamens, and then must be precisely inserted in slits behind the crown. If inserted backwards, pollen grains germinate in the wrong direction and are wasted. This may explain why so few pods occur on most plants. Insects too small to pull free die trapped on the flower.

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