NCBG North Carolina Botanical Garden

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Scientific Name: or show all plants or perform combination search
Plant Family:

Asclepias syriaca

Asclepias syriaca L.

common milkweed

Synonym(s): Asclepias intermedia, Asclepias kansana, Asclepias syriaca var. kansana
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)
image by Ware, Richard & Teresa
NCBG PLANT INDEX
ID_PLANT: ASSY
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Asclepias syriaca
GENUS: Asclepias
FAMILY: APOCYN - Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)

NCBG DESCRIPTIVES
INTRO: A conspicuous, coarse perennial that forms large colonies in unmowed fields, pastures, roadsides and other disturbed areas.
STEMS: Stem stout, unbranched, often furry; leaks milky sap when bruised.
LEAVES: Leaves opposite, short-petiolate, oval to oblong, 6–9 in. long, with a reddish central vein, soft-hairy beneath.
INFLORESCENCE:
FLOWERS: Flowers on long stalks that often droop, in a globe-shaped terminal umbel and a few upper axillary umbels; fragrant, pale-purple to rose-colored, with 5 strongly reflexed corolla lobes and a central crown--composed of 5 2-parted appendages (“hood” and “horn”)--surrounding a complex structure of fused anthers and style.
FRUITS: Fruit a warty, somewhat furry, oval follicle containing tufted seeds.
COMMENTS: This species, a well-known Monarch host plant, is apparently expanding its range southward.
HEIGHT: 3-6 ft.

DURATION: Perennial
HABIT: Herb

LEAF ARRANGEMENT: Opposite
LEAF COMPLEXITY: Simple
LEAF RETENTION:

FLORAL
SYMMETRY: Radial (Actinomorphic)
BLOOM TIME: June-August
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
x x x

BLOOM COLOR: Pale purple to rose
White Red Pink Orange Yellow Green Blue Lavender Purple Violet Brown Not Applicable
x x x

FRUITING PERIOD: July-Sept.

DISTRIBUTION
HABITAT TYPE: Disturbed
NATIVE RANGE: eastern North America

HORTICULTURAL
Plant Sale Text: Common milkweed is the most substantial of our native milkweeds. It is a great host plant for monarch larvae and a nectar source for adult butterflies. It is also showy, both in flower and in fruit. Large round clusters of dusty pink flowers are followed by large warty pods trailing delicate milkweed fluff. It is drought tolerant, and works well in a loose or wild landscape like a meadow or woodland edge. Individual plants are large and are likely to form colonies. Milkweeds support up to 12 species of lepidoptera.

Cultural Notes:

SOIL MOISTURE: Dry, Average
LIGHT EXPOSURE: Sun
MINIMUM HARDINESS ZONE: 3
MAXIMUM HARDINESS ZONE: 9
GERMINATION CODE: 2
WILDLIFE VALUE: Bee Friendly, Butterfly Friendly
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
USDA Symbol: ASSY
USDA Common Name: Common Milkweed
Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Distribution: USA (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), CAN (MB, NB, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK)
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit: Forb/herb

NATIONAL WETLAND INDICATOR STATUS

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: UPL FACU FACU UPL FACU UPL FACU

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2016 National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.3 (Lichvar, R.W., D.L. Banks, W.N. Kirchner, and N.C. Melvin. 2016. The National Wetland Plant List: 2016 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2016-30: 1-17. Published 28 April 2016. ISSN 2153 733X). Regions: AGCP-Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, AK-Alaska, AW-Arid West, CB-Caribbean, EMP-Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, GP-Great Plains, HI-Hawaii, MW-Midwest, NCNE-Northcentral and Northeast, WMCV-Western Mountains, Valleys & Coast
WEAKLEY FLORA
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Asclepias syriaca
COMMON NAME: Common Milkweed
SYNONYMY: [= C, K, Pa, RAB, S, Va, W, Z; > Asclepias syriaca var. syriaca - F, G, Il]
PHENOLOGY: Jun-Aug; Jul-Sep.
HABITAT: Pastures, roadsides, disturbed areas.
COMMENTS: NB and ME west to s. MB and ND, south to SC, GA, c. TN (Chester, Wofford, & Kral 1997), AR, OK, and KS. This species is apparently expanding its range southward; see Wyatt et al. (1993) and Wyatt (1996) for discussion.
RANGE MAP: Asclepias syriaca.png

Key to Map Symbols.

ABOUT FAMILY (Weakley Flora)
Apocynaceae A.L. de Jussieu 1789 (Dogbane Family)
SUMMARY: As here circumscribed including the Asclepiadaceae, a family of about 480 genera and about 4800 species, lianas, shrubs, herbs, and trees, widespread in tropical and temperate areas. There appears to be overwhelming evidence favoring the combination of the Asclepiadaceae into the Apocynaceae; see, for instance, Rosatti (1989), Sennblad & Bremer (1996), and many others.
REFERENCE: Rosatti (1989); Liede (1997a).
ABOUT GENUS (Weakley Flora)
Asclepias Linnaeus 1753 (Milkweed)
SUMMARY: A genus of about 100 species, herbs, temperate and tropical, of North and Central America.
REFERENCE: Woodson (1954)=Z; Turner (2009b)=Y; Farmer & Bell (1985)=X.

Seeds of Success (SOS)

SOS_NUM COL_DATE PERS_NUM STATE ECOREGION_III DETAIL
219 2015-09-02 3 North Carolina 45 Show
374 2015-10-20 59 Virginia 63 Show
381 2015-10-21 65 Virginia 45 Show
517 2016-09-20 61 Maryland 63 Show
525 2016-09-19 59 Maryland 65 Show
538 2016-09-21 3 Maryland 63 Show
600 2016-10-05 60 North Carolina 45 Show
730 2017-09-06 60 North Carolina 45 Show

HERBARIUM RESOURCES
SERNEC: Find Asclepias syriaca in Southeast Regional Network of Experts and Collections (if available)
UNC SERNEC: Find Asclepias syriaca in University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium - Southeast Regional Network of Experts and Collections (if available)

WEB RESOURCES
USDA: Find Asclepias syriaca in USDA Plants
NPIN: Find Asclepias syriaca in NPIN Database
FNA: Find Asclepias syriaca in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Asclepias syriaca

NCBG RECORD
ID IMAGE1: 8782
ID IMAGE2: 8782
ID IMAGE3: 24550
Include in WOTAS: 1
Publish to Web: 1
Last Modified: 2018-09-16

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