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Uses Name Characteristics

Common Milkweed

Asclepias syricacia

Family: Asclepiadaceae

Location:
  • found throughout most of the United States, particularly the Eastern states
  • grows along roadsides, in old fields and meadows, and in waste places
Common Milkweed
Characteristics:
  • thick stemmed
  • grows upright
  • 60-180 cm or 2-6 feet tall
  • named for the milky sap that can be found in the stem and leaves of the plant
Leaves:
  • elliptical and opposite
  • velvety on upper surface and downy underneath
  • 10-23 cm or 4-9 inches long and quite wide
  • often the mid-vein is deep red
Common Milkweed Pod
Flower and Fruit (seedpods):
  • large and made up of numerous pink-purple florets gathered in an umbrella shape
  • flowers from June-August
  • large seeds pods are the most recognizable feature of the plant
  • light green and elliptical
  • 2-10 cm or 1-4 inches with a pointed tip
  • contain seeds with wispy, parachute like attachements for wind dispersion
Common Milkweed Seeds
Uses:
The tough stems of the milkweed plant are excellent for making white cordage. The down can be used for insulation and tinder.

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