Asclepias stenophylla    Gray

Narrow-leaved Milkweed 


MN Status:
endangered
Federal Status:
none
CITES:
none
USFS:
none

Group:
vascular plant
Class:
Dicotyledoneae
Order:
Gentianales
Family:
Asclepiadaceae
Life Form:
forb
Longevity:
perennial
Leaf Duration:
deciduous
Water Regime:
terrestrial
Soils:
sand, rock
Light:
full sun
Habitats:

(Mouse over a habitat for definition)


Best time to see:

  Foliage   Flower   Fruit  
Jan spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Feb spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Mar spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Apr spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
May spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Jun spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Jul spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Aug spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Sep spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Oct spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Nov spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer
Dec spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer

Asclepias stenophylla Asclepias stenophylla

Click to enlarge


Map Interpretation

Map Interpretation

  Synonyms

  Basis for Listing

Asclepias stenophylla is characteristic of dry hill prairies in the Lower Great Plains region. It was not known to occur in Minnesota until 1978 when a single population was discovered near Hokah in Houston County. The Minnesota population is relatively small, and separated by about 500 km (311 mi.) from the main range of the species. It is believed that A. stenophylla originated in the western Ozarks and spread into the plains states where it was already adapted to a somewhat dry habitat. If it is true that this species is in the process of migrating from its ancestral home, the population in Houston County is not a remnant of former populations but the result of long-range dispersion. Such pioneering populations are of special biological significance and are believed to play an important role in the development of unique species. Asclepias stenophylla was listed as an endangered species in Minnesota in 1984.

  Description

Asclepias stenophylla is one of a few milkweeds in the region with thin leaves and white to greenish flowers. It may be distinguished from other Asclepias species by its opposite, widely spaced leaves and its large, short-stalked flowers that have hoods with an internal crest ending in a tiny horn (Great Plains Flora Association 1986; Larson and Johnson 1999).

  Habitat

The Minnesota population of A. stenophylla population occurs in gravelly soil near the base of a southwest-facing hill prairie. This habitat is very similar to the limestone glades and hill prairies that the species occupies in the main part of its range.

  Biology / Life History

Asclepias stenophylla is an herbaceous perennial that reproduces only by seed. Milkweeds in general have a large array of pollinators including bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, skippers, beetles, and birds. Each seedpod produces numerous seeds with a tuft of tan hairs that facilitate wind dispersal.

The best time to search for A. stenophylla is during flowering from June through August.

  Conservation / Management

Habitat loss is a major concern with all prairie species. Threats to this habitat include woodland encroachment, invasion by noxious weeds such as Euphorbia esula (leafy spurge), and human activities such as road construction, agriculture, housing development, and off-road vehicles. Fire suppression poses a threat as it allows the natural progression from grassland to woodland. Protection of suitable habitat is essential. It is equally important that adjacent buffer lands be protected so as to restrict herbicide drift, support pollinators, and ease management of prescribed fire. A regimen of dormant-season prescribed fire at intervals of 2-5 years should be considered so as to maintain the open grassland habitat preferred by A. stenophylla. Population monitoring is advised. Such monitoring may include a population census, habitat changes and trends, status of non-native invasive species, and encroachment of human activities from adjacent lands. All noxious weed infestations should be identified and destroyed quickly, but herbicides should be used very carefully, if at all.

  Conservation Efforts in Minnesota

The only known site of A. stenophylla in Minnesota is currently protected in a state Scientific and Natural Area.

  References

Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 1,402 pp.

Larson, G. E. and J. R. Johnson. 1999. Plants of the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota. 608 pp.