Matelea gonocarpa

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: milkweed 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Native Range: Southern United States, Mexico
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Green with purple center
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants should be sited in protected locations in USDA Zone 5 where they may not be consistently winter hardy.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Matelea gonocarpa, commonly known as climbing milkweed or anglepod, is a perennial twining vine with heart-shaped leaves, greenish star-shaped flowers, pubescent stems and milky sap. It is native from Georgia to Texas north to Virginia and Missouri. In Missouri, it is typically found in the far southern part of the State in open rocky woods and thickets (Steyermark). Opposite, oblong-ovate to round leaves (to 8” long) have heart-shaped bases. Star-shaped flowers are green with purplish centers. Flowers bloom in umbellate clusters in June-July. Flowers are followed by dehiscent, 3-5” long, sharp-edged, angular pods (hence the common name of anglepod) that split open in fall to release plant seeds. Synonymous with and formerly known as Gonolobus gonocarpa.

Genus name is a native name used in Guiana.

Specific epithet means sharply angled fruit.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Weave through shrubs. Train on a trellis or fence. Cottage gardens and native plant areas.