Common name: Showy Milkweed
Latin name: Asclepias speciosa
Family: APOCYNACEAE (genus previously included in Asclepiadaceae)
Height: 2-6 feet
Description: The intricate corolla is abruptly bent or curved downward or backward and is two-tone rose-purple. The stem is erect or angles/curves up from the base about 30 to 60 degrees away from vertical. The fruit is filled with many flat oval seeds with luxuriant silky plumes. True to its common name the sap is milky.
Leaf: The plentiful large, pointed, banana-like leaves are arranged opposite on the stalklike stem.
Range: California including White and Inyo Mountains, Mojave and Sonoran Deserts and desert mountains
Habitat: Many habitats including fields, roadsides
Elevation: 0–1900 m.
Flowering time: May–Jul
Notes: Many Native American peoples use all parts of this plant for a great number of medicinal uses and ate some parts as a food. Asclepias is after Asklepios, the Greek god of healing. Speciosa means "showy." Asclepias speciosa, a dicot, is a perennial herb that is native to California and is also found elsewhere in North America and beyond. It can cause minor dermatitis. Photographed with a Canon EOS 20D and 100mm macro lens.
We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.
Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...
What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports
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