En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Looking for leaves of milkweed plants for experiment

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Saturday - February 09, 2008

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Looking for leaves of milkweed plants for experiment
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am an undergraduate chemistry student at the University of Portland and want to perform an experiment using milkweed leaves. How would I get milkweed leaves at this time of year? Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

I am assuming that you want just any species of the Genus Asclepias and not a particular milkweed species. There are three species of Asclepias that are found in Oregon—Asclepias fascicularis (Mexican whorled milkweed), Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed), and Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed). It is too early in the year to find any of these growing in the wild in Oregon. The same situation holds for any milkweed species growing in Texas or elsewhere in the South. Your best bet, I think, is to find a nursery in your area that either has seeds that you can purchase to grow your own plants or that has young plants growing. You can find in our National Suppliers Directory a listing of nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants. We also have a listing of Associates who offer a discount to members of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. In a quick search, I found that Alpine WildSeed in Ellensburg, Washington has Asclepias speciosa seeds listed for sale. Also, Nothing But Northwest Natives Nursery in Woodland Washington has A. speciosa plants listed for sale. The Native Seed Network lists other Northwest sources for the seed of A. speciosa.

Other possibilities are the greenhouses of public gardens such as Leach Botanical Garden and the Berry Botanic Garden in Portland, the Oregon Garden in Silverton or University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle. Since you are doing a university research project, it might be possible that they would be able to furnish you with a few young plants if they are growing them in their greenhouses. There are other botanical gardens in or near Portland that you could locate by Googling "botanical gardens Oregon".

Finally, since both A. speciosa and A. syriaca are listed as caterpillar and nectar hosts for the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) you might check with Monarch Watch and the Monarch Butterfly Website for sources of milkweed plants. Additionally, the Oregon Zoo in Portland has a butterfly exhibit, Winged Wonders, and might possibly have a supply, or know of a supplier, of milkweed.


Asclepias fascicularis

Asclepias speciosa

Asclepias syriaca

 

 

More General Botany Questions

Will lead accumulate in the flower nectar of plants used for phytoremediation
January 16, 2009 - I'm attempting to phytoremediate lead in my garden with mustard and/or sunflowers. I also keep bees. I understand that lead is sequestered in roots and stalks. Would the nectar also be contaminate...
view the full question and answer

Forestiera pubescens blooming in July
August 07, 2012 - I have a lot of what appears to be Forestiera pubescens. They are covered with the dark blue/black berries and flowers. Apparently they are blooming again in the middle of July. I live about 35 mile...
view the full question and answer

Taxonomy question concerning the Family Commelinaceae
June 17, 2014 - Hi I have a question. Many people refer to plants differently, I have always used the Genus and species and rarely the family name..it is very confusing .. when a professional uses a name that is a co...
view the full question and answer

Burn the wetlands
June 02, 2010 - Can the wetlands of Louisiana that have been soaked in oil be burned? I am a native plant gardener in the midwest. Burning is a natural process in the prairie. Southerners are not used to this and ma...
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center