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Asclepias cordifolia

Asclepias cordifolia (Benth.) Jeps.

Heartleaf Milkweed, Purple Milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Synonym(s): Gomphocarpus cordifolius


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The common name for this species is derived from its Latin name cordifolia which means heart shaped. Mainly a California species, it is found primarily in the Northern part of the state (Webref 20).

"Leaves green with short hairs, sessile and clasping the stem; hoods open at the top and the inner side." (Bibref 1783)

Native Americans used the fibers of this plant to make ropes and nets including a 40 foot long deer net discovered by anthropologists that required an estimated 35,000 plant stalks to create (Webref 20).


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Shape: Cordate , Lanceolate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Leaf: Leaves clasping, large heart-shaped, or lance-shaped, bluish green with a purplish tinge. 4-7 in (10- 18 cm) long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Will produce flowers in its second year. Color is dark red to purple. Corolla color is darker than the hood color. Corollas fold back below the hoods. No horns. Umbel stands erect with 10 +/- flowers per umbel. Several flower clusters branch off the top of the main stem (Webref 20).


Native Habitat: Woodland, coniferous forests, but most commonly found on rocky slopes.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Description: Course to medium. Grows well in rocky soil.

Web Reference

Webref 20 - Milkweed Profiles (0) Monarch Watch

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2017-08-07
Research By: DEW, NH

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