Common Milkweed
 
Asclepias syriaca

Photo Citation

Naturedigger provided all images of common milkweed for this slide.

Asclepias syriaca Profile

Common Name(s):

common milkweed

Virginia silk

silky swallowwort

 

Scientific Name:

Asclepias syriaca

 

Native Range:

United States:

AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

 

Canada:

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador *uncommon

USDA Symbol:

ASSY

 

Habitat: 

• old fields

• roadsides

• disturbed or waste areas

 

Growing Conditions:

• full sun

• sandy or clayey soils

• well-drained loamy soils

• moist soil

 

Plant Height:

• 3-6 feet (1-2 meters)

 

Stem Description:

 

Leaf Description:

• 4-8 inches (10-20 centimeters) long

• 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) wide

• shape varies from oblong, ovate to lanceolate

• top of leaf is often darker and richer in color than the bottom

 

Leaf Arrangement:

• opposite

 

Leaf Margin:

• entire

 

Leaf Surface:

• top is smooth and medium to dark green 

• underside is woolly and light green

Flowering Period:

June through August

Flower Description: 

• drooping umbels with up to 100 flowers (generally less)

• white, purple, light pink or yellow flowers

• petals reflexed backwards

• white, pink or yellow hoods and horns

Pod Description:

• 3-4 inches (7-10 centimeters) long

• covered with hair and soft spikes

• wide in the middle and tapered at the end

Other Information:

• extremely fragrant

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 

 

Xerces Regional Milkweed Guide

 

USDA Plants Database