Matelea floridana - (Vail) Woods.
Florida Milkvine
Other Common Names: Florida milkvine
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Matelea floridana (Vail) Woods. (TSN 503701)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.133682
Element Code: PDASC0A0D0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Milkweed Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Gentianales Asclepiadaceae Matelea
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Matelea floridana
Taxonomic Comments: Identification is difficult since flowers are required. Sterile individuals are probably often overlooked.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 18Oct2008
Global Status Last Changed: 26Nov1984
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Known from approx. 20 occurrences in central and northern peninsular Florida and from a few reports from the Florida panhandle and adjacent southwestern Georgia (only one locality known in Georgia). The species' habitat is threatened by development, successional pressure, and exotic plants. Fire may be needed to maintain the forest canopy gaps in which it thrives, but clearcutting would probably lead to its disappearance.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Florida (S2), Georgia (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: North and peninsular Florida and southwest Georgia.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from fewer than 20 occurrences in Florida and southwestern Georgia. Approximately 16 extant occurrences in Florida (as of 2008), and one in Clay County, Georgia.

Population Size Comments: Plants may be more numerous and overlooked because they are impossible to identify without flowers.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat pressure from intensive forestry practices and development. Georgia site is threatened by Kudzu invasion.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: May respond well to fire & low intensity canopy opening; would be adversely affected by mechanical soil disturbance.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: North and peninsular Florida and southwest Georgia.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL, GA

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Alachua (12001), Bradford (12007)*, Citrus (12017), Clay (12019), Columbia (12023), Gadsden (12039), Gilchrist (12041), Hamilton (12047), Hernando (12053), Jackson (12063), Lafayette (12067), Levy (12075), Liberty (12077), Madison (12079), Manatee (12081), Marion (12083), Orange (12095), Polk (12105), Putnam (12107), Sarasota (12115), Sumter (12119), Suwannee (12121)
GA Clay (13061), Grady (13131), Thomas (13275), Worth (13321)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Myakka (03100102)+, Little Manatee (03100203)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Aucilla (03110103)+, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+, withlacoochee (03110203)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+, Lower Chattahoochee (03130004)+, Lower Flint (03130008)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Chipola (03130012)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A twining, perennial vine. The stems of vigorous plants grow to several meters long. Clusters of flowers ranging in color from greenish-yellow to deep maroon bloom during spring and early summer.
Technical Description: "Stems slender, terete, but faintly longitudinally ribbed, prostrate unless there is something to climb on, always a twiner when there is, variable in length, vigorous growth to several meters long, simple or intermittently branched, the surface yellowish-green, but often strongly maroon-tinted, pubescence a mixture of long spreading hairs (hirsute) mixed with short hairs, some of these tipped with red glands. Leaves opposite, the petioles stiffly spreading, strongly ribbed, mostly 2-6 cm long, the longest lowest, pubescent as in stems; blades cordiform, ovate to suborbicular, apically acuminate, the margin entire and bristly-ciliate, the base cordate or often auriculate with the sinus narrowly rectangular or closed, the whole blade often to 1.5 dm long but usually much shorter upward on stem; upper surface dark yellow-green, puberulent, sometimes sparsely hirsute along the veins, the lower surface paler, soft puberulent, along the strongly raised veins puberulent and hirsute, with some of the short hairs red-glandular. Inflorescence a simple, axillary, pedunculate, few-to-many-flowered umbel, the peduncle ca. 1 cm long, slightly shorter than the rays, ribbed, puberulent, maroon-tinted, the pedicels slender, stiffly spreading, mostly 1.0-1.5 cm long, glandular-puberulent, each usually subtended by a narrowly linear, green, hirsute bract ca. 5 mm long. Flowers perfect, regular, between 1.0 and 1.5 cm across; sepals 5, 2.5-3.0 mm long, spreading, triangular-ovate, narrowly acute, green or maroon, faintly reticulate-venose, hirtellous; petals 5, spreading, joined at very base, flat, 0.7-1.0 cm long, deep to pale maroon or yellowish-green, narrowly ovate, broadly acute, entire, the backs inequilaterally puberulent, the margins thin, a narrow, entire, pale band, the upper surface smooth; crown thin, maroon, broadly low-triangular-lobed, each tip tridentate, each sinus with 2 narrowly triangular teeth, gynostegium flat-topped, low, greenish, the thin pale scale-ovary superior, bicarpellate, the two ovoid, apically incurved, distinct carpels hidden and developing under the peltate gynostegium and the corona. Fruit follicles 2, lance-cylindric, apically attenuated, ca. 7-10 cm long, yellowish when ripe, strongly fleshy-spined; seeds flattish, numerous, ca. 5 mm long, ovate, dark brown, each with a strong tuft of white, silky capillary hairs" (Kral, 1983).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Matelea floridana may be characterized by the genus' distinguishing feature of bearing a corona at the gynostegial base, this forming 1-2 series, the rims of which are variously toothed or lobed. It may be distinguished from its nearest relative M.carolinensis in that it has somewhat smaller flowers, each with an apparently 5-lobed crown, the surfaces of which are predominantly nearly black (Kral, 1983).
Reproduction Comments: Cronquist (1981) states that the family is specialized for mass pollen transfer by insects.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Upland hardwood forests, with laurel oak, red oak, pignut or mockernut hichory, spruce, pine, and southern magnolia. A variety of wooded habitats from fairly moist woods, such as those in limesink areas, to dry, open oak-hickory or oak-hickory-pine upland forests. The most vigorous flowering populations occur where there has been a recent, canopy-opening disturbance; the plants may not flower at all in areas where the understory and overstory are continuous.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Dec1990
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hardin, E.D., rev. D.L. White, rev. A. Tomaino (2008)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 30Jun1992
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): UPDATE M.E. STOVER, TNC-HO (2/95)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Clewell, A.F. 1985. Guide to vascular plants of the Florida panhandle. Florida State Univ. Press, Tallahassee, Florida. 605 pp.

  • Cronquist, A. 1981. An integrated system of classification of flowering plants. Columbia Univ. Press, New York. 1262 pp.

  • Duncan, W.H., and L.E. Foote. 1975. Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 296 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kral, R. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • Robbins, L., and D. Hardin. 1987. Element stewardship abstract for Matlea floridana. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, Florida.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Univ. Presses Florida, Gainesville. 472 pp.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.