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Matelea obliqua

climbing milkvine add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Climbers, Perennials

Light Requirements: part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: average, loam, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 4'-10'

Bloom Time: June, July

Bloom Color: crimson, violet, purple

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts butterflies, climbing, creeping, deer resistant, ornamental foliage, rare

Matelea obliqua (climbing milkvine)
  • Matelea obliqua (climbing milkvine)
  • Matelea obliqua (climbing milkvine)

Pricing & Availability


Matelea obliqua

Also known as:

climbing milkvine


limerock milkvine


climbing milkweed




angle pod


oblique milkvine


northern spinypod. It is rare




or threatened in most of its native range.

Scientific Synonyms:

Gonolobus obliquus, Gonolobus shortii, Matelea shortii, Odontostephana obliqua, Odontostephana shortii, Vincetoxicum obliquum, Vincetoxicum shortii


Matelea obliqua is a twining herbaceous perennial vine with attractive heart-shaped leaves that are about 4" across and conspicuously veined. The flowers are rather unusual in their appearance and somewhat otherwordly. They're shaped like a starfish, about 1" across, purple with an orange to reddish center, and emerge in open clusters. This vine produces better fall color than most, with leaves developing bright yellow and golden hues.


Climbing milkvine is not particular about soil type or quality, and the only critical requirement is that it be very well-drained. It is typically found growing in open rocky woodlands and barrens, and prefers part-sun to open shade. It is an herbaceous vine, which means it does not have above ground woody parts, and will die back to the ground at the end of the growing season. Although plants will grow larger as they mature, older plants won't grow taller than 10'. It has a twining habit, is lightweight and will climb on any structure it can wrap itself around (whether natural or man-made) without damaging it. The blooming period lasts about a month in mid-summer. Zones 5-8


Propagate by seed or division.

Additional Notes

Matelea obliqua is a member of the Milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae) and monarch butterfly caterpillars have been known to feed on young leaves.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: MD, PA
  • Rare: IN
  • Threatened: IL, OH


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Gentianales
Family Asclepiadaceae Milkweed family
Genus Matelea milkvine
Species Matelea obliqua climbing milkvine