Desert Milkweed
 
Asclepias erosa

Photo Citations

Naturedigger would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to the Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa) identification slide:

 

Flower image provided by: Alex Bairstow, iNaturalist observation (cropped), CC BY-NC 4.0

Flower inset image provided by: Bob McCoy, iNaturalist observation

(cropped), CC BY-NC 4.0

Leaf image provided by: Tony Iwane, iNaturalist observation (cropped), CC BY-NC 4.0

Pod image provided by: Lonny Holmes, iNaturalist observation (cropped), CC BY-NC 4.0

Asclepias erosa Profile

Common Name(s):

desert milkweed

California desert milkweed

 

Scientific Name:

Asclepias erosa

 

Native Range:

AZ, CA, NV, UT

USDA Symbol:

ASER2

 

Habitat:

• deserts

• mountain slopes

• roadsides/disturbed areas

• creosote and sometimes sagebrush communities

• dry washes

• elevation 500-6,230 feet (150-1900 meters)

 

Growing Conditions:

• full sun

• dry granite, sand or clay soils with low organic content

 

Plant Height:
• 2-6 feet (0.5-2 meters)

 

Stem Description:

• green to yellow

• mature plants produce multiple stems with a width of up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) at the base, then narrows at the top

• woolly when young, becoming hairless as plant matures

 

Leaf Description: 

• elliptic, lanceolate or ovate

• dull color when covered in cream-colored hair

• 4-8 inches (10-20 centimeters) long and 1-4 inches (3-10 centimeters) wide

• distinct white veins

• no petiole; sessile

• bases tapered to cordate

• succulent

 

Leaf Arrangement:

• opposite

 

Leaf Margin:

• undulate or jagged (erose)

 

Leaf Surface:

• smooth to very hairy (woolly) both above and below

• hairs, when present, are cream-colored

• may be glabrous or hairless as plant matures

Flowering Period: 

• April through October


Flower Description:

• horns extend beyond hoods

• hoods sit slightly above the stigmatic disc

• globe-like umbels grow near the top of the stem

• umbels are erect with 20 or more flowers 

• petals are reflexed

• horns sickle-shaped

 

Flower Color:

petals: pale cream or green

hoods and horns: white or cream to yellow

 

Pod Description:

• stout and thick

• 2-3 inches long 

• erect on deflexed pendicels

Other Information:

• the leaves are generally jagged, or erose, as in the plant's scientific name Asclepias erose

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:

 

The Jepson Herbarium

 

SEINet 

 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

 

Bring Back Monarchs (if avail)

 

Xerces Regional Milkweed Guide

 

USDA Plants Database

iNaturalist