Common name: Swan Plant, Balloon Plant
Botanical name: Asclepias physocarpa Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)
This small tree-like perennial from Jamaica and South America is sure to
invoke curiosity. It's in the Milkweed family, and grows 4-6 ft tall.
The flowers are white and inverted, like many milkweeds. It is the seed
pods that are showy. They are balloon-like,
translucent lime green, and have little spines sticking out.
The seed case of this fantastic plant looks just like a swan, which gives it
its other common name. Like all milkweeds they attract
the lovely wanderer butterfly to the garden. The downside is that the seeds
spread very easily throughout the garden on the breeze, so the plant does have
some weed potential. Another problem is that it exudes a poisonous, milky sap.
However it tastes bad and is not really the sort of thing you'd want to eat.