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Downy milkpea
Galactia volubilis

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2019. Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, Palm Beach County, Florida.

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also wildflower and butterfly gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A relatively common understory herb or small vine in pine rocklands and coastal uplands.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts.

Description: Small twining, low climbing vine.

Dimensions: N/A; a vine with stems to 3 feet or more in length.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Eastern United States west to Texas and south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Pinelands, hammocks and thickets.

Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with or without humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Secondary line; tolerates significant salt wind without injury, but usually is somewhat protected.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Bright pink fading to blue.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Small brown pod (legume).

Wildlife and Ecology: Larval host plant for cassius blue (Leptotes cassius), ceraunus blue (Hemiargus ceraunus), gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), silver spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus) and zarucco duskywing (Erynnis zarucco) butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

Comments: This is a part of a confusing group with unstable taxonomy; this species was listed as Galactia regularis in Wunderlin & Hansen (2011) and for several years on the Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Plants in the Florida Keys and in the pine rocklands of Miami-Dade County are the closely related Galactia parvifolia, with narrow leaflets. For any Galactia species, we recommend using plants that were originally collected from near your project location.

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2019. Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, Palm Beach County, Florida.

Other data on Galactia volubilis available from:

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