Matelea decipiens

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: climbing milkweed 
Type: Vine
Family: Apocynaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Brownish-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. May not be reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where it should be planted in a protected location.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Matelea decipiens, a climbing milkweed, is an herbaceous, Missouri native, climbing or trailing vine which occurs in open woods, glades, thickets and along stream banks in the Ozark region of the State. All parts of this plant are hairy. Opposite, heart-shaped, medium green leaves (to 5'' long). Clusters of small, star-shaped, deep brownish-purple flowers, each with five ascending petals, appear on stalks rising from the leaf axils in late spring. Flowers give way to seed pods (to 4" long) which split open when ripe to release silky-tailed seeds typical of the dogbane and milkweed family.

Genus name is a native name used in Guiana.

Specific epithet means deceptive or cheating.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Train on a trellis or fence. Weave through shrubs. Butterfly or native plant gardens.