Milkweed, Common

Plant Height 3 Ft.
Seed Count 64,000 Seeds per LB.
Botanical Name Asclepias syriaca
Life Cycle Perennial
Environment Full Sun
Preferred Sites Upland/Grassland
Bloom Period May-August
Flower Color Purple
Pollinator Value Excellent


When people think of a milkweed plant, most of the time it is Common Milkweed that they are thinking of. Common Milkweed was once commonly found in prairies, meadows, roadside ditches, waste ground and as a weed in agricultural fields. With the use of non-selective herbicides in both crop ground and grasslands, this plant has seen a major population decline. The monarch butterfly uses this milkweed as its larval host and it is the single most important plant to the species. All parts of the plant are toxic to livestock and humans, although many Native American tribes ingested it for medicinal uses. If the plant is broken, such as having a leaf removed, it produces a milky white sap from the wound. Common Milkweed spreads through seed and rhizomes and can form large colonies in disturbed areas if given the chance. The globe shaped inflorescence is made up of many purple/pink flowers when in bloom from May-August. They are replaced with a large, spiny seed pod that once ripe, breaks open to allow the tufted seed to be distributed by the wind. Shallow plantings in the fall will provide proper seed stratification to allow for spring germination. However, most plants will not flower until their second year. This perennial grows well in many different soil types and prefers medium soils that receive full sunlight where it can reach heights of 3-5 feet.

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