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Showy Milkweed

Asclepias speciosa Torr.

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

▲▼young plants from creeping roots in spring

▲▼flowering stem


▲▼ flowers, showing hook-like appendages curving into the center of the flower


▲ young fruit

 ▲ Mature fruit 

▲▼ colony of showy milkweed in Little Bighorn National Park

Asclepias speciosa Torr., Showy Milkweed: (Bayer Code:  ASCSP; US Code ASSP)

o   similar to common milkweed, with oval leaves, but often more pointed leaf tip

o   also has creeping roots to allow it to form colonies

o   flowers have longer “hoods” extending out from outer petals and larger white “hooks” that surround the center of each flower compared to common milkweed

o   can be a problem in reduced tillage western row-crops—not a problem in Missouri

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