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Common Milkweed

Asclepias syriaca L.

Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family (formerly in Asclepiadaceae, the Milkweed Family)

young plant arising from creeping roots in spring▲

mature plants▲▼


▲▼ flowers without prominent, hook-like appendage over center of flower (as in Showy Milkweed)


Asclepias syriaca L., Common Milkweed: (Bayer Code:  ASCSY; US Code ASSY)

·         a creeping perennial with creeping roots & large, oval, fuzzy, opposite leaves

·         stems usually 2-4’ tall, mostly unbranched, in open colonies

·         flowers pinkish in axillary, globe-shaped clusters in late spring, early summer

·         fruit is large oval pod with hook-like projection on it—seed has “parachutes” to allow wind dispersal

·         differs from showy milkweed by lack of hook-like projections in center of flowers, and common milkweed has more bluntly rounded leaf tips (usually)

·         common on roadsides, pastures

The “weediness” of milkweeds has been revisited due to them being the main food for monarch butterfly larvae; therefore, milkweeds no longer are being generally considered as weeds to eradicate, and actually have legal protection in some areas


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Updated 19 January 2019