Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


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.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Asclepias brachystephana (Bract milkweed)
Anderson, Wynn

Asclepias brachystephana

Asclepias brachystephana Engelm. ex Torr.

Bract Milkweed, Desert-rose Milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

"Native from central Mexico northwest to Arizona, being a fairly common native of mesquite scrub and disturbed areas of dry alluvial soil in Trans-Pecos Texas. The stems, 1-8 dm (8-32 in) long, either ascend at an angle or are erect and are of a whitish color owing to the dense coating of hair. At times the hair falls from the older parts of the stems, leaving them greenish. The leaf blades are lanceolate, 5-12 cm (2-5 in) long, and 4-11 mm (0.16-0.4 in) wide. The common flower stalk, above the uppermost leaves, is only 10-22 mm (0.4-0.9 in) long; the individual flower stalks, 6 to 12 per cluster, are 10-20 mm (0.4-0.8 in) long. The petals are oblong-ovate, about 5 mm (0.2 in) long, and red purple to violet; they are flexed away from the center of the flower." (Bibref 824)

Warnock (Bibref 315) reports that this species is "suspected of being toxic to livestock." Cheatham et al. (Bibref 824) discuss the toxicity of all species of the Genus Asclepias including the toxic effects on livestock. Additionally, the medicinal properties are listed and A. brachystephana was one of the species of milkweeds known to be collected and used for food by Native Americans.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.
Flower: Stamens 5

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Violet
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep



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.

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-PM-5 Collected 2006-08-14 in Presidio County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2021-03-03
Research By: DEW,NH

Go back