Share

Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    

Asclepias speciosa (Showy milkweed)
Cliffe, Harry

Asclepias speciosa

Asclepias speciosa Torr.

Showy milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Synonym(s): Asclepias giffordii

USDA Symbol: ASSP

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A stout, sparingly branched, pubescent perennial, 1 1/2-3 ft. tall, with large, oval, blue-green leaves and showy, spherical clusters of rose-colored flowers. Flowers occur at the top of the stem and on stalks from leaf axils. A grayish, velvety plant with erect leafy stems and with umbels of star-like pinkish flowers in upper axils and at top. Sap milky.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf: Green
Flower: Sepals 5
Fruit: Black 5 in.
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Green , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep

Distribution

USA: AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , IL , KS , MI , MN , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , SK
Native Distribution: S. Man. & w. MN to B.C., s. to TX & CA
Native Habitat: Savannah, Prairie, Meadow, Field

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Various soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Hummingbirds.
Warning: This is one of the least toxic of the milkweeds. There are even recipes for preparing this species as a vegetable, but the plants should be positively identified as some of the milkweeds are highly poisonous, and eating them can result in death.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Larval Host: Monarch

Propagation

Description: Root cuttings can be taken in fall or early spring. Seeds may be sown outside in late fall or the following spring. Germination of spring-planted seeds is enhanced by moist stratification.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Stratify 3 months at 40 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Asclepias speciosa is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Monarch
(Danaus plexippus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FAC FAC FAC FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Oregon Native Plant Nursery - Woodburn, OR

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

USDA: Find Asclepias speciosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Asclepias speciosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Asclepias speciosa

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2009-02-19
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back