Fewflower milkweed

Along the edges of damp roadsides, marshes, swamps, and bogs you may spot a bright red/orange flower on a tall slender stalk, like a flag catching your attention. This beautiful flower (Asclepias lanceolata) is in the milkweed group of wildflowers, a group which has a very interesting flower structure when you get close enough to see its details. The petals of the flower all curve downward. The part of the flower that has the stamens and pistil in it stands upright and is called the crown. The way the pistil is formed it can only receive pollen from another milkweed plant of the same species, ensuring that the seeds always produce the same kind of flowers and do not hybridize.  The Fewflower milkweed flower stalk can be up to 5 feet tall. Along the middle of that stem are long thin lance-shaped opposite leaves, which give the flower its botanical name, “lanceolata.” After the flower blooms and is pollinated, it will form a large tubular seed pod; when the seeds are ripe the seed pod will split open so that the seeds — which have cottony parts — can be blown by the wind to another location.