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Asclepias syriaca

common milkweed add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: rich, poor, loam, sand

Height: 2'-4'

Bloom Time: June, July, August

Bloom Color: pink, lavender

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: attracts butterflies, colonizing, drought tolerant, fragrant flowers, naturalizing, showy fruit

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
  • Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
  • Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
  • Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
  • Seeds of Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Asclepias syriaca

Also known as:

common milkweed

,

Scientific Synonyms:

Asclepias intermedia, Asclepias kansana

Description

Asclepias syriaca is a clumping milkweed, with large, broadly oblong, opposite leaves that grow along a stiff, unbranched central stem. Their upper surface is smooth, whereas their underside is covered in short, dense hairs. Though typically 3' to 4' tall, plants can grow up to 6' under exceptional conditions. Several ball-shaped umbels, of pink to purple fragrant flowers, develop on the upper part of the plant along the leaf axils. In late summer, these give way to large, conspicuous spiked seed pods that burst open when ripe, letting the wind disperse the seeds that are attached to white fluffy tufts of hair.

Cultivation

Asclepias syriaca is adaptable to a wide variety of soil types, and conditions. It prefers full sun, and once established, plants are very drought tolerant. Though it disperses a lot of seeds, germination rates tend to be low in cultivation, and plants will colonize more so vegetatively by lateral roots. This species enjoys a long bloom period, often extending for over a month, in mid to late summer. Zones 3-7

Propagation

Can be difficult to propagate from seed. Mature plants are difficult to transplant, or divide, however the lateral rhizomatuous roots can be cut and transplanted in early spring.

Additional Notes

It is unfortunate that this species is known as the 'common milkweed', because it is truly an exceptional species, and the most important of milkweeds for monarch butterflies. As with other milkweeds, the stems and leaves produce a milky sap when damaged that should be considered toxic.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Gentianales
Family Asclepiadaceae Milkweed family
Genus Asclepias milkweed
Species Asclepias syriaca common milkweed