Milkweed (Asclepias sp.)

Milkweed (Asclepias sp.)

Asclepias speciosa is a species of milkweed known commonly as the showy milkweed. It is native to the western half of North America.

This flowering plant is a hairy, erect perennial. The large, pointed, bananalike leaves are arranged opposite on the stalklike stem. The eye-catching furry pale pink to pinkish-purple flowers are arranged in thick umbels. Their corollas are reflexed and the central flower parts, five hoods with prominent hooks, are star-shaped. The fruit is a large, rough follicle filled with many flat oval seeds with luxuriant silky plumes.

Many Native American peoples use all parts of this plant for a great number of medicinal uses and ate some parts as a food.

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About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

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