Swallow-wort, Cynanchum angustifolium

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photo (82)Our native swallow-wort, Cynanchum angustifolium is the gulf coast swallow-wort. It is a member of the asclepias, or milkweed family, and you can tell it’s a milkweed from the milky sap on the stems. On Dewees Island, the vine can be found along the edges of the impoundment on Dewees Inlet drive and Lake Timicau drive, as well as the pathway along Huyler House walk. This is one of the only host plants for monarchs that is native to the island. It is also known as climbing or vine milkweed. At this time of year, the flowers are blooming, but mature seed pods are also casting their tiny seeds out along the breezes.


gulf coast swallow wort flower head
flower heads
milky sap can be seen along an exposed stem
the flowers are attractive to a variety of insects

Cynanchum angustifolium on wax myrtle
vining swallowwort
gulf coast swallow wort seed pods with mite
seed pods beginning to dissipate


Cynanchum angustifolium with iva frutescens
Swallow wort seeds on marsh elder
swamp milkweed seeds
seeds ready to fly

I am hoping to collect and propagate some seeds from this vine: I’d love to see more monarchs on the island!


Early Spring Wildflowers

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There are slow signs of spring on the island, for sure. Many of the early spring wildflowers are blooming, the pollen is thick on the porches and in the puddles, and the falcate orangetips, the first butterflies to emerge have been flitting about. Trailing bluets carpet sections of the forest where the sun gets through.

spring wildflower sc: trailing bluet
Bluets have begun to peek up their heads
macro shot of trailing bluet: spring wildflower
spring wildflower dandelion and falcate orangetip falcate orangetip



spring wildflower: wild plum
wild plum blossoms: scaly bark and leaves just beginning to emerge
eastern redbud
Eastern Redbud

The redbud is beginning to fade, and the wild plum trees at Huyler House and the Landings building are almost finished blooming. Carolina Jessamine is blooming in the pine trees. I took some macro shots of the plum tree blossoms and some other things blooming along the way.



Wax Myrtle, Myrica cerifera
Dandelion, taraxacum officinale

Dandelions are cropping up along the roads, and tiny seeds are beginning to float on the breeze.

spring wildflower: dandelion
close-up of dandelion seeds

Over near Huyler House pond, the willows are blooming catkins which are attracting lots of bees and other pollinators.

willow catkin with pollen-laden bee