Showy Milkweed

Asclepias speciosa

Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa

Color: Rose-purple

Common name: Showy Milkweed

Latin name: Asclepias speciosa

Family: APOCYNACEAE (genus previously included in Asclepiadaceae)

Height: 2-6 feet

Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa


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.

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