Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed, Silkweed. This native milkweed is found in 38 of our 50 states and in much of Canada. It is listed in several weedy or invasive lists, so consider the impact on your area before propagation. In my opinion, it should be allowed to grow unles there is an overriding reason to destroy a plant's population, since milkweed is an important part of the ecosystem, providing food and habitat for many insects.
The milky white, sticky sap is reported to be toxic, but with appropriate preparation, several parts of the plant are reported to be edible, according to Wildflowers Of Tennessee, The Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians .
Each umbel of Asclepias syriaca contains numerous purplish flowers.
The flower of Common Milkweed has 5 strongly reflexed petals, exposing the hoods and horns, which are about equal in length to each other.
Certain species of Milkweed Beetles are reported to be very specific to certain species of milkweed, only rarely being found on different species of milkweed. Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Red Milkweed Beetle) is the species that primarily associates with Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). If you look closely at the lower beetle in this photograph, you can see 3 of the 4 eyes for which this insect genus gets its name – tetrophthalmus is derived from the Greek for “four” and “the eye”. Two of the eyes are above the antennae, and two below.
Common Milkweed grows to 3 to 5 feet tall, has a stout stem and opposing leaves.
The leaves of Asclepias syriaca are dark green and mostly smooth above, a lighter green below. They are on very short petioles.
Journal Articles Referencing Milkweed
Check here for more information about Asclepias syriaca.
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