Asclepias syriaca

Common Milkweed

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Description

The common milkweed blooms from late June until August, with 3-inch spheres of starry pink flowers. The structure of the tiny flowers is complex, with 5 reflexed pink sepals and 5 forward-pointing petals. Each petal has a hood at the base and a little curled horn, giving the flower the appearance of a crown. The fruit is a soft, warty pod that splits open to disperse little brown seeds attached to white silky tufts of hairs that become airborne in the wind. The thick, unbranched stems are covered with large, oval, soft-textured leaves filled with a milky, slightly toxic sap. When monarch caterpillars eat the leaves, they become toxic and are avoided by birds. This species is native to east and central North America. It tends to grow in weedy fields and is difficult to pull up due to its long rhizomes. If you love butterflies, let it be!

Soil
Moderate
Plant Shape
Upright
Exposure
Full Sun
Bloom Time
May - June, July - August
Bloom Color
Pink, White, Lavender
Landscape Use
Bedding or Border
Wildlife Interest
Attracts Butterflies, Resistant To Deer, Native to Midwest
Plant Type
Perennial
Hardiness Zone
3 - 9