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Asclepias engelmanniana (Engelmann's milkweed)
Anderson, Wynn

Asclepias engelmanniana

Asclepias engelmanniana Woodson

Engelmann's Milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Synonym(s): Acerates auriculata, Asclepias auriculata


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

"Perennial 2-4 1/2 feet in height. The stems are stout with from 1 to 4 branching from the ground. The leaves are close together on the lower third of the stem. As they grow up the stem, the leaves become grouped in 3's at the nodes, and toward the upper third of the stem, they are paired at the nodes. Very narrow in shape, they measure only 1/16 –1/8 inch wide, but can grow up to 9 inches long. Several to many flower clusters grow from the upper nodes. Each cluster has 20–28 small, pale-green flowers that look very crowded. The corolla is abruptly bent downward and wheel-shaped. Each petal turns up at the tip and is a somewhat darker brownish or purplish color on its underside. The corona rises up about 1/4 inch tall and is squared off at the top. It has no horns. The oval seeds are about 3/8 inch long and have a pale tawny, silklike tail about 1 1/4 inches long." (Bibref 264)

The species of this plant is named for George Engelmann (1809-1884) who was born in Germany and settled in St. Louis, Missouri, as a young man. He was a physician and botanist, describing especially North American Abies (Firs), agaves, cacti (for which he described more than 108 species), Cuscuta (Dodder), Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family), Juncus (Rushes), Juniperus (“Cedar”), Pinus (Pines), Vitis (Grapes), and yuccas.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Apex: Acute
Leaf Base: Attenuate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Umbel
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 4-1/2 feet in height.
Leaf: Leaves often approximate and may appear verticillate.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Pale green tinged with purple.


USA: AZ , CO , IA , KS , NE , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: Endangered in IA.
Native Habitat: "Highway right-of-ways, prairies, washes and draws, hillsides, caprock ledges and canyon breaks in Texas." (Bibref 264)

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.


Bibref 264 - Wildflowers of the Western Plains (1992) Kirkpatrick, Z.M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2021-03-11
Research By: TWC Staff, NH

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