Asclepias syriaca


Common Names: Common milkweed, butterfly flower, silkweed, silky swallow-wort, Virginia silkweed
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Milkweed family

A clonal perennial herb growing up to 2.6 m tall. Its ramets grow from rhizomes. All parts of common milkweed plants produce white latex when broken. The simple leaves are opposite or sometimes whorled; broad ovate-lanceolate; up to 25 cm long and 12 cm broad, usually with entire, undulate margins and reddish main veins. They have very short petioles and velvety undersides. The highly fragrant, nectariferous flowers vary from white (rarely) through pinkish and purplish and occur in umbellate cymes. Individual flowers are about 1 cm in diameter, each with five cornate hoods and five pollinia. The seeds, each with long, white flossy hairs, occur in large follicles.

Primary Flower Color: Pink
Secondary Flower Color: White
 
Edible Notes: The plant's latex contains large quantities of glycosides, making the leaves and follicles toxic to sheep and other large mammals, and potentially humans (though large quantities of the foul-tasting parts would need to be eaten). The young shoots, young leaves, flower buds and immature fruits are all edible raw. It is important not to confuse young shoots with those of the toxic dogbane plants.

Found along roadsides, waste areas, meadows, flower/butterfly gardens, and pretty much anywhere weeds commonly grow.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.
Sightings