Antelope Horns

Species: Asclepias asperula spp. capricornu
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Order: Gentianales

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A young plant with new buds. (April 11, 2012)

This plant grows in several locations across the ‘sunny field’ portion of our acre. The leaves are long, sturdy, a bit rough, narrow, with the sides bent upward.

Milkweed species are a crucial feeding source for Monarch butterflies and their larvae. It is important that if you plant Milkweed, that you choose the appropriate species to your area.


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A closeup of the buds on another plant. (April 21, 2012)

This species is said the bloom between Mar-Jul in Texas, but I’ve photographed buds and blooms in both springtime and fall. According to my 2012 photos, I first observed buds in early April, then again in mid-September.


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A flower head in bloom (May 7, 2012)

I observed these plants flowering as early as mid-April, and then again in late September. I have observed many butterflies and ants feeding on the nectar, but I have not yet seen a Monarch in our area. I did once see a Queen butterfly once when I went for a walk down the road.


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Flower heads blooming among other wild herbs and grasses in our field. (April 29, 2012)

I’ve never counted, but I think we have about 5 of these plants growing in the sunny back half of our property where the soil is more acid. In the front half of our acre I find that more plants are growing that are said to prefer an alkaline soil.


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Flower stalks after flowers are spent. (April 29, 2012)

Once the flowers are spent, the fruit will soon appear.


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The first seed head I observed that year. (April 29, 2012)

According to foragingtexas.com, these young fruit are edible before it turns all fluffy inside or develops mature seeds.


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More developed but not yet mature seed heads, or “Antelope Horns”. (May 10, 2012)

In this photo you see the Milkweed Bug. I have photographed them on all parts of this plant.


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A mature seed head. (May 24, 2012)

Well beyond the edible stage.


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A seed head dispersing its seeds. (June 9, 2012)

As the wind blows, these seeds fly through the air attached to white, feathery, fluffy stuff that can spread them well beyond the plant’s perimeter.

Edibility:

You can find conflicting information on this subject. Many will say this plant is poisonous, but expert foragers such as John Kalles and Samuel Thayer explain in their books that this idea was a mistaken one. Many decades ago, Euell Gibbons, a well-known and respected foraging expert confused Milkweed with Dogbane. They can look identical if you don’t look at key distinguishing characteristics. By the time the mistake was cleared up, the incorrect information had already spread among many plant experts in many subsequent publications. Current reputable sources continue to repeat the mistake.

For information and photos on Milkweed’s edibility, please see Merriweather’s Foraging Texas page for this genus: http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/milkweed.html


This species according to a few other sources:

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ASASC

The Xerces Society: https://xerces.org/milkweed/

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepias_asperula


 

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