Once in the genus Asclepias like other milkweeds, this increasingly popular ornamental plant now has the Latin name of Gomphocarpos physocarpus. What’s in a name? Carpos or carpus means “fruit”. The physo-carpus part of the name literally means “inflated fruits” which is obvious from its bladder-like fruits and another of its common names of balloon-plant. The genus name of Gompho-carpos is a little less obvious to me as it means “nail-fruit”, though perhaps it is the spike-like projections on the fruit’s surface.

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