Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)-HAVE A COLLECTOR

USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 28.


Where Commonly Found: Fields, roadsides, forest edges, meadows, human-made and disturbed sties, often forming colonies, CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT.
How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key to Asclepias syriaca.
Missouri Botanical Garden description of Asclepias syriaca.  Click on more images.

Flower  Color:  Mauve pink 
Flower Type:  Umbels, petal-like parts bending down, usually 30+ flowers per umbel, each flower having 5 erect 1/8″-1/6″ hoods with curved horns.
Flower Time:  Mid-June to late July.
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite leaves, stout, upright unbranched stem, nearly perpendicular to each other, with short petioles.  Bruised or cut stems and leaves exude milky sap.
Leaf Type:  Smooth entire edge, often dark green upper with light green underside, large, oblong leaves with reddish veins, up to 4″-8″ long, 2″-4.25″ wide, tapered.
Height:  3′ – 8′
Seed Collection:  Distinct warty seed pod, split open to expose silky haired seeds that float in the wind.Collect pods, an erect follicle, 3″-4″ long, as yellowing and splitting, avoid pods with weevil larvae frass, signs of damage, and/or small entry holes, as pod will likely be dead.  Open healthy pods and remove the ripe brown seeds from the wet down.  Store dry seeds cool, dry or in refrigerator.

Attracts:  Bees, Butterflies, Larval Host
Use:  Naturalizing, Monarch Garden
Light:  Full Sun
Hardiness Zone:  3 – 9   USDA Zone Map
Soils:  Dry to Moist
Notes:  Common Milkweed is very important as a host plant for our beloved Monarch butterfly.  Plant this in an area where you can let it grow wild and reseed.
Native to all US but the West:  Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).


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