Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Big Year for Angle-pod

One of the great things about botany is the never ending opportunity to discover things weird and beautiful.  I’ve got a memory full of WOW moments commemorating those special occasions when I first set eyes on a species of plant new to me.  One of the jewels of that collection is a remembrance of my first encounter with a blooming Angle-pod, Matelea obliqua.  This plant doesn’t skimp when it comes to weird or beautiful.

A single flower looks bright in the sunlight, but in the shadows, it is more of a deep burgundy that blends well into its surroundings.  On my first encounter, the flower cluster was almost in my face before it was noticed.  I just stared at it for some time before settling back to determine what it was.

Since then I have become quite familiar with this plant.  It has a habit of being an infrequent bloomer at Blue Jay Barrens, so I’m always thrilled to discover the flowers.  Weather conditions must have been just what were needed this year to encourage flower production.  Blooms are more abundant than I have ever seen them in the past.

The leaves are much more noticeable than the flowers.  Large leaves pair up along the stem and stand out in most types of mixed vegetation.

I most often find Angle-pod growing in open woods where it is liable to intercept a couple of hours of direct sunlight during the day.  It’s rare to find it beneath a closed canopy and I have never seen it growing out in the open.

Angle-pod is a vining plant that commonly sprawls across the top of surrounding vegetation.  Most of the tall growing plants have not yet developed stems capable of holding the additional weight of the Angle-pod and will bend or break if the vine tries to climb them. 

Angle-pod will climb if given support.  Out of a dozen plants in this spot, only one was doing much in the way of vertical growth.  I’m hoping that the abundance of blooms will result in some seed pods being produced.  I have yet to see an Angle-pod seed pod.  I’ve high hopes that will change later this summer.


  1. That's certainly something I've never seen!

  2. Hi Furry Gnome. I wish you the luck to run into this plant or another of similar interest.