Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the October 6, 2008 Newsletter written in Sabacché, Yucatán, MÉXICO

The other day I noticed the humble little vine with quarter-size flowers shown below:

DICTYANTHUS YUCATANENSIS, formerly Matelea yucatanensis.

This plant is common here, twining among cacti, henequen plants and branches of dead trees. They like light. You'd never imagine that they'd have anything to do with milkweeds until you look into the little flowers' throats with a lens, and then you see the pretty complexity there all set down along themes recognizably milkweed-flower.

Sigrid is on sabbatical so I sent the above picture for identification to my friend Ulli back in Bayreuth. He was tickled with the picture, for the little vine, despite its commonness here, is endemic, in the whole world found only in the Yucatán. It's DICTYANTHUS YUCATANENSIS, formerly called Matelea yucatanensis.

The plant is so low-key that I doubt it has any common name. However, Weakley's Flora of the Carolinas refers to species in the genus Matelea as Spinypods, so maybe a good English name for this vine is the Yucatan Spinypod.