Matelea decipiens (Alex.) Woodson

Climbing Milkweed, Angle-pod

Matelea decipiens plant

Family - Asclepiadaceae

Stems - Trailing and vining, herbaceous, with milky sap, scabrous, pubescent, branching, multiple from a thickened crown.

Matelea decipiens stem

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate. Petioles to +/-5cm long, scabrous from papillose-hispid hairs, also with minute hispidulous hairs, with many reddish glands (use a lens to see). Blade to +/-14cm in diameter, pubescent above and below, with hispidulous margins, cordate, rotund, acute, entire.

Matelea decipiens leafAdaxial side of pressed leaf.

Matelea decipiens leafAbaxial side of pressed leaf.

Inflorescence - Axillary umbellate cymes on short peduncles. Peduncles to +/-3cm long, hispidulous and glandular. Pedicels to 1.4cm long, hispidulous and glandular, typically with a purplish tinge. Flowers typically +/-25 per cyme.

Flowers - Corolla deep purple, 5-lobed, to 1.5cm long and broad. Corolla tube to 3mm long. Lobes to 1.5cm long, 3-5mm broad, curling, pubescent externally, glabrous internally. Corona 3mm in diameter, glabrous, 5-lobed. Lobes with two appendages to -2mm long. Anther head 2mm in diameter. Pistils 2, tuberculate, light green, -2mm long in flower. Calyx pubescent, purplish-green, 5-lobed. Tube -1mm long. Lobes to 2mm long, acute, entire. Fruits to +10cm long, tuberculate, pubescent. Seeds with a white coma to +3cm long.

Matelea decipiens flowersFlowers.

Matelea decipiens flowerFlower side view.

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Rocky open woods, bases of bluffs, glades, thickets, streambanks.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking plant is common throughout the Ozark region of Missouri. The flowering time for the plant is short but the plant still deserves more attention in cultivation.

Photographs taken at Alley Springs, Shannon County, MO., 6-4-03.