Friday, June 5, 2015
A Dainty Favorite Milkweed
My friends in the Thursday Naturalists stopped by my house yesterday, to bring me reports from their walk in the Skidmore woods, and also to cheer me as I await the surgery that will start my broken kneecap on the road to recovery. These friends are such amazing good company, they would have lifted my spirits even if they had not found my favorite flower that I'd hoped would be blooming this week. But happy to report, the Four-leaved Milkweed (Asclepias quadrifolia) was found!
This is such a dainty little milkweed, only about a foot high, and on slender stems that hold clusters of pink-tinged white blooms in drooping clusters. It grows in the shade, too, unlike most other milkweeds that demand full sun, so it would make a lovely shade-garden flower, especially in a garden with limey soil. If only I could find a few plants with mature seeds! Although this milkweed used to line the trails in the Skidmore woods abundantly, in later years now it has grown much less abundant, probably as nearby plants have towered over it. It doesn't mind light shade, but it does not like to be crowded by taller plants. As a result, I fear that the few remaining plants are not sharing pollen, and thus not setting seed.
I wonder what we could do to ensure the continuation of this lovely flower in the Skidmore woods. Perhaps some Skidmore students could undertake its protection and propagation as one of their scholarly projects. I think I will propose this very project to a professor.