Threatened Plant Species – Asclepias concinna

APOCYNACEAE: Asclepias concinna [Vulnerable]

The Genus Asclepias is named after Aesculapius, immortalised as a god of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. This Genus once belonged to the family ASCLEPIADACEAE (milkweed/butterfly weed family), but after undergoing a recent revision by taxonomists, it is now classified as a sub-family within the APOCYNACEAE family. 

Asclepias concinna is a perennial herb found in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands to Maclear, in annually burnt Montane grassland. This plant is potentially threatened by afforestation and rural settlement. It grows to about 325 mm long, slender, sparsely leafy, and hairy.

Asclepias concinna photographed by Barbara Clulow

Asclepias concinna photographed by Barbara Clulow

Leaves are upright, thin and hairy with short thin hairs, arrowing into a small petiole at the base with margins curled backwards and with short thin hairs.

Inflorescence umbel (usually a flat-topped inflorescence with the stalks arising more or less from a common point like an umbrella), adjacent to the base, stalked about 8 green and purple flowers.

Asclepias concinna flowers from October to December. Peduncle (lower unbranched stalk) upright, thin and with short thin hairs. Pedicels (stalk of individual flower) thread-like, half the length of the peduncle. Petals are compressed on the side towards the axis on which it is inserted, thin, short soft hairs; have woolly white hairs close to the edge of the side that faces away from the axis.

Sepals narrowly ovate and tapering to a point at the apex, sharp, with short thin hairs, half the length of the corolla. Corolla-lobes (second whorl of floral organs) egg-shaped to blunt, smooth with short thin hairs, margins with long soft, silky weak hairs. Corona-lobes (series of appendages on the corolla) white, smooth.

If you have seen this plant, please contact Mbali Mkhize, CREW programme: KZN Node Project Assistant m.mkhize@botanicalsociety.org.za

References:

  • Brown, N.E. 1909. Asclepiadeae. In: W.T. Thiselton-Dyer (ed). Flora Capensis IV Section I (Vacciniaceae to Gentianeae):518-1036. Lovell Reeve & Co., Ltd., London. (Asclepias concinna (Schltr.) Schltr.)
  • Nicholas, A. 1982. Taxonomic studies in Asclepias (Asclepiadeae) with particular reference to the narrow-leaved species in southern Africa. University of Natal.
  • Nicholas, A., Scott-Shaw, C.R., von Staden, L. & Victor, J.E. 2006. Asclepias concinna (Schltr.) Schltr. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2015/09/17
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