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Mysterious Southern Illinois Seed Pod

Milkvine Seed Pod

Milkvine Seed Pod

Ask the Expert: What is this mysterious pod?
A friend just found these pods in a shrub around her Southern Illinois house.  Each pod is about four inches long.  Any clue as to what they are???  Suzanne

Plant Expert Reply:

This seed pod stumped me.  It looked familiar, yet not enough for me to make an identification.  Lucky for me, I knew someone who could help.  I forwarded the picture to Dr Jeremie Fant at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Here is Jeremie’s response:
To me it looks like a milkweed pod but the plant itself seems to be a vine of some type. There is a climbing milkweed species
Funastrum cynanchoides. (http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=FUCYC)  – Not seen one in person but seems plausible.

Another possibility are Matelea spp. There are three species of this genus which is native to Southern counties of Illinois. Not sure I could tell you which the one you have could be but http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=MATEL – but if you click on these maps and then on Illinois it  will tell you which counties they are native to which might help narrow it down.

I think Jeremie is right about it being a type of Matelea because Funastrum is not native to Illinois.  I think it is either a Matelea gonocarpos (angular fruit milkvine or a Matelea obliqua (climbing milkvine).

Thanks, Jeremie for pointing me in the right direction.

Suzanne, hope this identification helps. Sorry it took so long.


  1. actually its Ampelamus albidus ..a pale swallow-wort in the milkweed family,vine upto 20ft,usually found in wooded gaps or open areas climbing other plants or small trees,loves chainlink fence, upto sixty pods with commas like common milkweed.native to Ill.peace

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