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Marcus, Joseph A.
Asclepias incarnata L.
Swamp milkweed, Pink Milkweed
USDA Symbol: asin
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The large, bright, terminal blossoms of this showy, 2-4 ft. perennial are made up of small, rose-purple flowers. Deep pink flowers clustered at the top of a tall, branching stem, bearing numerous narrow, lanceolate leaves. Opposite, narrow, lance-shaped leaves line the erect, open-branched stem. Elongated, tan-brown seed pods persist into winter.
The juice of this wetland milkweed is less milky than that of other species. The genus was named in honor of Aesculapius, Greek god of medicine, undoubtedly because some species have long been used to treat a variety of ailments. The Latin species name means flesh-colored.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Root Type: Fibrous Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Lanceolate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Apex: Acute Leaf Base:
Rounded Breeding System:
Flowers Bisexual Size Notes:
Plant 3-6 in height. Follicles 7-9 cm long, 1.2 cm in diameter. Leaf:
Green Flower: Sepals
Green, 5 in. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
, WY Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia; from New England south to Georgia; west to Louisiana, and Texas; north to North Dakota. Native Habitat:
Wet Meadow, Prairie, Field, Riparian, Swamp, Marsh
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist , Wet CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Soil Description:
Rich, wet, very muddy to average garden moisture. One of the few ornamentals that thrives in mucky clay soils. Prefers neutral to slightly acidic soil but will tolerate heavy clay. Conditions Comments:
With its showy flower
clusters that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, swamp milkweed is underutilized in gardens. In
moist soils or in a pond, it will thrive. The interesting seed pods look like other milkweeds. Swamp milkweed will inevitably have aphids. The insects are not a problem unless the plant looks sick; at that point an effective treatment is to spray the plant and aphids with soapy water. Another possible treatment is to support the plant part with your hand and blast it with high-pressure water. Good for wetland gardens and habitat.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Herbaceous perennial
forming stately clump of upright stems with long narrow leaves and heads of fragrant soft mauve pink flowers, composed of many small intricate flowers. Use Wildlife:
Milkweeds are an important food source for the monarch caterpillar. Use Food:
Although milkweeds are poisonous raw, the young shoots, leaves and seed pods are all edible cooked. When placed in cold water, brought to a boil and simmered till tender, milkweeds are said to be delicately flavoured and harmless. (Poisonous Plants of N.C. State) The flower
buds, nectar-sweet flowers and seeds are also edible. (Kershaw) Warning:
All parts. Toxic only in large quantities. Syptoms include, vomiting, stupor, weakness, spasms. Toxic Principle: Cardiac glycosides and resinoids. Conspicuous Flowers:
Butterflies , Hummingbirds Larval Host:
Monarch and Queen butterflies. Nectar Source:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Easy to start from seed. Established plants may be divided in spring.
Seed Collection: Watch plants closely and collect seed in October, November.
Seed Treatment: Heat helps germination.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
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National Wetland Indicator Status
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.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff, RLU