Orange milkweed, not globemallow

Please note the change of identification from 7:00 a.m. to 3:11 p.m.  I thought you might like the changing process of classification.

Composed at ca. 7:00 a.m. this morning, before field trip

The hunt is on again for identifying a wildflower, but this time the plant in question falls outside the ranchito and does not fit into my project of cataloging wildflowers on my land.

Yesterday afternoon at about Mile Marker 352 on the south side of Interstate 20, I saw a bush-clump of brilliant orange-scarlet flowers.  I have never seen such brilliance.  Hurrying to the ranchito and my office, I combed page-by-page my wildflower identification books and at least five websites that classify flowers.  I may have found the answer, but I cannot with a lot of confidence conclude the flowers to be the Caliche globemallow or Scarlet globemallow and I have had to reverse my classifications before — I once identified the Wine Cup as a Desert Mariposa — so, I must go up the hills to my west tomorrow and find the flowers again.  Elaine Lee and her mother have recently seen ‘neon-orange flowers’ near Putnam, Texas, on Interstate 20.

In reflecting on the Scarlet globemallow (?), I may have seen a family’s roadside memorial marker with orange plastic flowers wrapped around a cross?

Composed at ca. 3:11 p.m. after field trip to photograph

I combined a trip to the First National Bank of Santo at Mingus, Texas, with a field excursion up on top of Ranger Hill (Mile Marker 352) to photograph this flower.  I thought I had it down as a Scarlet globemallow even though I flew by the plant at 70 m.p.h.  I made two trips by the flower before I turned into the grass along side Interstate 20.  There was no access road nearby so I turned on my emergency blinkers.  I discovered five clumps of the plant and its blossoms as trucks shot by. 

Of course, I am self-conscious at the side of an Interstate taking pictures of wildflowers:  What the hey am I doing here?  A few truckers blow their horn.

I admit I am so curious about this plant and flower that I spend $8.00 in diesel fuel going up the hill from where I live to get close to this flower and photograph.  That’s ‘What the hey am I doing there.’  Secondly, what the hey is that flower doing there?  Too many questions with not enough answers, so I drive back to the ranchito, eat a ham sandwich and upload the pics and begin to compare the blossoms with Scarlet globemallow.  Totally different blossoms, totally different plants.

This search, I think, is going to go on for a long, long time.  So, I pick up my first manual, and on page 16 of Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller’s Texas Wildflowers is the Orange milkweed also known as Butterflyweed, Butterfly milkweed, Orange milkweed or Pleurisy root.  That was fast.

I have Green milkweed on the ranchito, but no Orange milkweed.  I am curious as to the medicinal properties of the Orange milkweed.  And, what is pleurisy?  I remember hearing it as a boy:  I’ve got some pleurisy this morning, Little Jack.  I think it must be some sort of joint pain?  In any case, I am confident as to the classification and it is a brilliant, showy blossom known as Orange milkweed.

Many county roads meander about my area.  I think my next trip will be up the road for 15 miles or so where my mail carrier habitually sees a bobcat cross the road.  There be things to discover and photograph up the road, up the hill and into nature’s wonders.  I do believe it so.



Filed under Wild Flowers of Texas

24 responses to “Orange milkweed, not globemallow

  1. Rubia

    this orange milkweed is stunning! What a discovery! Your risk of life and fuel expenses paid off. Perhaps you should consider changing the name of your blog, “Jack’s Botanical Adventures.” 😉 May I have your permission to download the picture for use as the wallpaper of my cell phone?
    I always look forward to your next episode! Thank you for sharing the beauty!

  2. Hej Jack, what a marvellous colour. I didn’t know the name but now you’ve told me. The Asclepius tuberosa is not growing wild here in DK, but is cultivated. It is called Orange Silkplant. I have often seen it in gardens, and the fine orange colour is great among the other plants.
    I think it’s fantastic how much effort you are doing to find those plants. I like your enthusiasm.
    Grethe ´)

  3. Twila

    Pleurisy is an inflammation of the linings of the lungs.. makes it very painful to breathe
    Pleurisy root was used as a food source as well as medicine

  4. I just love that photo of the clump of orange, just sitting out there by the side of the road. I would have stopped, too, or at least gone back. I’ve never seen that flower, I’m sure. The vibrant color would have caught my attention, I think. But, it’s apparently pretty common.

    I did notice from a plant site that another name is “chigger weed”. Uh-oh! Be careful on those explorations! And thanks for making that effort to capture it for us!

  5. That’s really pretty stuff and a color that is not very common in nature, at least around here. Nice find!

  6. Hello again Jack! Before I fell asleep and began to snore last night I suddenly came to think of the Latin name Asclepias/Aesculapius. (the Greek god of healing) The Aesculap- or Asclepias-staff with the entwining snake is still used as a symbol in medicine.
    Last evening I found another name for the plant, which I cannot find today: Snake root. Have you heard of that? It’s also said that this Butterfly Weed is a larvae plant for the Monarch and Queen butterfly – and much else. A very interesting plant indeed.
    Grethe `)

  7. Pleurisy is an irritation of the pleural lining of the lung caused by a respiratory infection. Seems no one mentions it anymore, but I had it in college a couple of times…it feels like someone is gripping your back at the level of the lungs. Terrible!

  8. Hello Jack!

    I truly think you have caught “a bug” and will never get over it! :^)

    From personal experience, I know how infectious photographing plants can be. And like you have just experienced, the bug will force you to take chances you would not have normally done before, like parking on the interstate.

    Beautiful plant. The spirited color would certainly catch one’s eye in a rather drab setting. Further, the plant benefits nature too. Not just a weed – although what is some people’s weeds are another person’s flower.

    Even though this flower is not on your ranchito, it was thoughtful for you to include it for us to see and learn of the bush/flower. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. Keep up your good work.

    • Iona, yes, I have caught the ‘bug’. I need to contact the highway department and have a ‘no mowing area’ set up about the Orange milkweed plot since it is quite uncommon. It is a spirited color.

  9. ~WoW~ I find myself in the middle of your adventure! I have been researching the orange milkweed for the last 24 hrs. “Thank God” I found mine on the side of the road next to the wood’s edge. *Across the street from my house.* I was shocked because my frog pond and flower bed are directly across from it. I am not sure how I missed something so precious! We were slowing down to turn into the driveway when I caught a glimsp of it out of the corner of my eye. Needless to say, we came to a hault in the middle of the road. I had to jump out and investigate. If my research is correct it may have been there for a least 3 yrs. (it can take up to 3 yrs before it will flower) I have a piece of it in water now. Hopefully in 2 weeks I will have a new addition to my garden! ~smiles~ I can’t wait to share your post with my husband! He thinks I have lost my mind.

    • Great, Cynthia! The Orange Milkweed does have a way of stopping us in our tracks. I have been traveling my stretch of the interstate for 14 years and I just noticed it the other day. Yes, thank goodness you didn’t have to watch out for the 18-wheelers. I hope you have success in planting it. The blooms are off the ones I found. Thanks for commenting, Cynthia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s