Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated December 2017.
Scientific name: Asclepias syriaca L.
Common name(s): common milkweed
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-generally flowers June to August in ME
-quickly spreads through rhizomes and seed dispersal
-can grow to five feet tall
-large thick leaves
-broken leaves spew a milky liquid
-pink flower clusters at the top of the plant
-may be confused with A. purpurascens; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage
-found in fields and pastures
-prefers full sun
- can tolerate part shade
-over 450 insects that feed off this plant
-attracts bees and butterflies
-contains toxins to defend itself which the monarch butterfly takes advantage of
-difficult to remove
-named after the Greek God of Medicine, Asklepios
-historical use of being used for wart removal and lung diseases
Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.
Taylor, David. “U.S. Forest Service.” Wildflowers, www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/asclepias_syriaca.shtml.