Bract Milkweed
Asclepias brachystephana

Photo Citations

Naturedigger would like to thank the following individual for his contributions to the bract milkweed (Asclepias brachystephana) identification slide:


Flower, leaf/stem and pod images provided by: Patrick Alexander, 

SEINet portal Network: SEINet (cropped)

Asclepias brachystephana Profile

Common Name(s):

bract milkweed

desert-rose milkweed

short-crowned milkweed


Scientific Name:

Asclepias brachystephana


Native Range:


USDA Symbol:



• mesquite scrub

• desert mountains

• dry plains

• grasslands

• mesas

• disturbed areas of dry alluvial soil

• elevation 3,500-7,000 feet (1,070-2,130 meters)

Growing Conditions:

• Full sun


Plant Height:
• 12-24 inches (30-58 centimeters) tall


Stem Description:

• ascend at an angle or are erect

• clustered

• whitish color due to dense hairs

• hairs may be absent from older stems which will appear greenish


Leaf Description:

• 3-6 inches (cm) long 

• linear-lanceolate

• apex is acuminate

• abruptly narrowed at the base into a short petiole

• petiole 0.8-0.3 inches (2-8 millimeters) long


Leaf Arrangement:

• opposite and dense


Leaf Margin:

• 2-5 inches (5-12 centimeters) long

• 0.20-0.8 inches wide (5-20 millimeters) wide


Leaf Surface:

• white and woolly above, smooth below

Flowering Period: 

• April through September

Flower Description: 

• reddish purple to violet

• petals are oblong-ovate

• corollas reflexed backwards 

• 3-8 umbels

• hoods broader than long, toothed on the inner margins 

• hoods and horns are yellowish

• horns attached near the middle of the hoods

• petals are approximately 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) long

• flower stalks are 0.4-0.8 inches (10-20 millimeters) long

• 6-12 flower stalks per cluster

• flowers often near the top nodes of the stem


Pod Description:

• 2-4 inches (cm) long

• erect on deflexed pedicels

• oblong

• smooth

• reddish

• white or green striped

Other Information:

• Special value to native bees

To Locate and Purchase Seeds (when available):


Xerces Society Milkweed Seed Finder 


Milkweed and Wildflower Vendors


Grow Milkweed Plants


For More Information About This Species Visit:


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper


USDA Plants Database