Although it has a beautiful colloquial name, Honey Milkweed, Hummingbird Vine (Cynanchum laeve) is an invasive pest found throughout my neighborhood and the East Coast to the Mississippi River.
A member of the Asclepiadaceae family and considered a native plant attractive to Monarch butterfly caterpillars, by some, Others classify it as belonging to the family Apocynaceae (dog strangling vine). I find it an obnoxious invasive weed that climbs over and smothers desirable plants if left undetected and uprooted.
I find it everywhere in my neighborhood, and have never seen a caterpillar on a single vine in all the years I have been gardening, thus I think the more likely classification for this plant is Apocynaceae. Furthermore, I think it is a pest because it grows only in areas where the soil has been disturbed, i.e. cultivated.
Cynanchum laeve I removed from my perenial beds. ADS 2012
Wiki says: Cynanchum laeve is a vining perennial herb native to eastern and central U.S. states and Ontario (USDA says Cynanchum invaded Ontario and the area around the great Lakes in Michigan and New York). Common names include honeyvine milkweed, bluevine milkweed, climbing milkweed, and smooth swallow-wort.
Like bindweed and some other members of the Convolvulaceae family, Cynanchum laeve is a twining vine with heart-shaped leaves common in roadsides, fence rows, fields, and disturbed areas. However, C. laeve is easily recognized as a member of the Milkweed family by its opposite leave placement, milky sap and distinctive flowers and “milkweed pods.” The seeds are wind dispersed and can travel long distances.
Cynanchum laeve is considered a noxious weed in several states, and can be very difficult to eradicate from fields because of its deep, extensive root system. Like many other milkweed species, C. laeve contains toxic cardenolide alkaloids, thought by many to be a food plant for the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies.
Below, photos around my neighborhood of Cynanchum.
Cynanchum Laeve has almost swallowed this rose bush.ADS 12/2014
These seeds are wet from rain, but when they dry they will blow for miles. ADS 12/2014
Hundreds of horrible seeds = hundreds of horrible weeds. ADS 12/2014
Wiki also says: Cynanchum is a genus of about 300 species including some swallowworts, belonging to the family Apocynaceae. The taxon name comes from Greek kynos (meaning “dog”) and anchein (“to choke”), hence the common name for several species is dog-strangling vine. Most species are non-succulent climbers or twiners. There is some evidence of toxicity.
Monday, I will link this post to Nature Notes. Thank you Michelle for your wonderful informative Meme.