Oxypetalum coeruleum

Tweedia (Oxypetalum coeruleum) seed pods and seeds

Tweedia Seed Pods and Seeds

Last summer, I bought a Tweedia plant (Oxypetalum coeruleum) at a plant sale. It had a few flowers, and three seed pods had formed by the time I brought it inside for the winter. I wasn’t sure they would ripen, but by December they were starting to split.

Tweedia (Oxypetalum coeruleum) seed pod and seeds

This plant is related to Milkweeds (Genus Asclepias). I have never grown milkweed or observed it closely, but I did know its seeds have silky white tufts that help them disperse by floating on the wind. It seems Tweedia seeds have this kind of structure as well. The way the seeds and their parachutes are packed into the pod is interesting.

Tweedia (Oxypetalum coeruleum) seed pod and seeds

As the seeds detach from the pod, the fluffy parts expand, ready to catch a breeze.

Tweedia (Oxypetalum coeruleum) seed pod releasing seeds
Tweedia (Oxypetalum coeruleum) seed pod and seeds
Tweedia (Oxypetalum coeruleum) seeds

I intend to grow a few plants from these seeds, and hopefully experiment with planting them in different spots. They are on the edge of winter hardiness here (being native to southern Brazil and Uruguay), so may not survive temperatures more than a degree or two below freezing.

Tweedia (Oxypetalum coeruleum) seed

Each of the three pods contains dozens of seeds, way more than I need. It seems wrong to keep them in the windless shelter of the house when they look like they should be unfolding their parachutes and taking to the air in search of places to settle and grow. But I hesitate to let them do that, in case they defy the odds of winter survival and become yet another alien invasive. That’s unlikely, though, so maybe one windy day in spring, I will turn them loose and watch them fly.

Oxypetalum caeruleum, Tweedia caerulea

This photo is from Wikipedia, but I hope to take one of my own Tweedia in flower next summer.

Interested in more posts like this? Subscribe to Audrey Driscoll’s Blog!