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California Milkweed
Asclepias californica

Photo Citations

Naturedigger would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to the California milkweed (Asclepias californica) identification slide:


Flower image provided by: Arboretum Amy - iNaturalist observation

(cropped)  CC NC-BY 4.0

Inset flower image provided by: Christian Schwartz - iNaturalist observation (cropped) CC NC-BY 4.0

Leaf image provided by: Lee F. - iNaturalist observation (cropped) CC NC-BY 4.0

Pod image provided by: Ken-ichi Ueda - iNaturalist observation (cropped) CC BY 4.0

Asclepias californica Profile

Common Name(s):

California milkweed

round-hooded milkweed


Scientific Name:

Asclepias californica

Native Range:


USDA Symbol:




• grassy flats

• bushy hillsides below 7,000 feet (2,100 meters)

• open woods of California

• sandy, clay and rocky soils


Growing Conditions:

• full sun

• drought tolerant


Plant Height:
• 1-3 feet (30-60 centimeters)


Stem Description:

• thick, white and woolly

• may be erect, but typically run along the ground or bend

• mature plants have multiple stems


Leaf Description: 

• ovate

• oblong to lanceolate

• 2-7 inches (5-18 centimeters) long

• 1-3 inches (2.5-7.5 centimeters)

• very woolly

• sessile or have a very short petiole


Leaf Arrangement:

• opposite


Leaf Margin:

• entire

• smooth or wavy


Leaf Surface:

• dense hairs

Flowering Period: 

• April through July

Flower Description: 

• reddish, purple or cream-colored corolla (petals)

• reddish or deep purple hoods

• lack visible horns 

• hoods and stigma are the only part of the plant not covered in hairs

• underside of petals may be hairy

• buds are very woolly

• reflexed corolla (petals)

• droop rather than stand erect when fully open

Pod Description:

• green turning light brown as it matures

• covered with short hairs

• 3-4 inches (7.5-10 centimeters) long

• 0.75-1.5 inches (2-2.5 centimeters) wide

Other Information:

• endemic to California


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


Bring Back Monarchs


USDA Plants Database


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