Asclepias is a genus of 140 species of milkweed.  Some milkweed are member of related genus Calotropis, genus Cynanchum, genus Gomphocarpus, genus Tweedia and genus Vincetoxicum.   All are members of dogbane  family Apocynaceae.

Most species are native to North America, although others are native across the globe.

🚧 In the future, we will add here identification paths for specific species of milkweed, probably starting with:
clusters of very-small flowers with 5 petals=pink or light purple around white center, 40% of sphere, subtle smell of vanilla
♒︎ swamp milkweed  Asclepias incarnata,

clusters of very-small flowers with 5 petals=dusty rose, 80% of sphere, smells flowery
common milkweed  Asclepias syriaca,

clusters of very-small flowers with 5 petals=brilliant orange around a yellow center, 10% of a sphere, little smell
butterfly milkweed  Asclepias tuberosa,

clusters of very-small flowers with 5 petals=white around a white center, 20% of a sphere, leaves=very narrow
whorled milkweed  Asclepias verticillata,

◼︎ black swallow-wort  Cynanchum louiseae, ◼︎ pale swallow-wort  Cynanchum rossicum and ◼︎ white swallow-wort  Vincetoxicum hirundinaria.

Please let us know which other species you would like to see here, using the button at the bottom of this page.

Learn more about milkweed genus Asclepias

Uses by native peoples
(Ethnobotany database)

Asclepias hosts caterpillars of 13 species
of butterflies and moths, in some areas,
including being the only host plant for eggs and larvae of the monarch butterfly  Danaus plexippus.
Poster of monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus lifecycle, larval
host plants, adult nectar plants, and growing info for these plants.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file
Growing milkweeds for
monarch butterflies
  Adobe Acrobat Reader file
Milkweed—It's Not
Just for Monarchs

Bloom dates (NE Illinois).  Adobe Acrobat Reader file  (🔒︎ Wild Ones members only)

The milkweed blossom is the ⚘❀ state wildflower of Illinois.

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