Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fringed Twinevine or Climbing Milkweed

Fringed twinevine or climbing milkweed (Funastrum cynanchoides or also Sarcostemma cynanchoides) is one of my new favorite wildflowers. On April 3rd, while hiking in a wash near Carey's Castle in the Eagle Mountains in the southern portion of Joshua Tree National Park, I came across a bizarre plant that I could not (and still cannot) identify.
I had this post prepared with pictures of that plant. It had flowers that are amazingly like the fringed twinevine.
But the rest of the plant did not fit. Then I took a second hike into the same area two weeks later, on April 17th. While on that hike I came across about four of the actual fringed twinevines.
With all of the reading I'd done on it, I instantly recognized it
and was shocked at how much smaller and how much different this plant is than the one I had been identifying it as. The fringed twinevine is found along washes.
It has flowers in umbrella-like clusters
 with five sepals and five petals fringed with white hairs.
The leaves are green, hairless and variable in shape.
The stems are slender, green and twining.
With a casual glance, there is nothing remarkable about the plant.
But a detailed view opens up an amazingly beautiful world of twisting vines,
spectacularly arranged
and colored flowers.
I still have the mystery of the other plant to solve, but it has cemented a real interest and curiousity in me for this plant.

No comments:

Post a Comment