Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Asclepias curassavica

L., Sp. Pl. 215.1753

Niño muerto, Pasorin, Yuquillo, Mata

Erect herb, sometimes more than 1 m tall; stems ± gla­brous below, pubescent above; sap milky. Leaves   op­posite or ternate; petioles 1-2 cm long; blades mostly lanceolate, gradually tapered to both ends, 5-18 cm long, 1-3.2 (4) cm wide, glabrous or weakly pubescent. Umbels several, terminal; pedicels crisp-pubescent, l-2 cm long; calyx green, hidden by reflexed petals, 5-lobed, 2-3 mm long; corolla usually orange-red, 6-8 mm long; corona segments (hoods) bright yellow, broadly ovate, 4-5 mm long, shorter than narrow inner horns of corona; nectar accumulating at base of corona or filling corona almost to brim. Follicles held erect, fusiform, 8-10 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide, glabrous; seeds brown, ovate, flat, 5-6 mm long, topped by comose tuft ca 2.5 cm long. Croat 6374.

Occasional, in clearings. Flowers and fruits throughout the year. Individual plants flower more than once a year. Plants contain the toxic glucoside asclepidadin (Blohm, 1962). Flowers are probably               self-compatible (D. Spell­man, pers. comm.).

Southern Florida and Mexico to Argentina; West Indies. A cosmopolitan weed in the tropics, introduced to the Old World as an ornamental. In Panama, known from most areas of tropical moist forest, from tropical dry forest in Herrera, from premontane moist forest in the Canal Zone, Los Santos, and Panama, from premon­tane wet forest in Chiriqui, Coclé, and Panama, and from tropical wet forest in Coclé, (Atlantic slope).

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Asclepias curassavica