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Asclepias sullivantii (Prairie milkweed)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Asclepias sullivantii

Asclepias sullivantii Engelm. ex A. Gray

Prairie Milkweed, Sullivant's Milkweed, Smooth Milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)


USDA Symbol: ASSU3

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

One to several stout, erect stems, 2-3 ft. tall, bear large, domed clusters of pink or pinkish-white flowers at the top or on stalks from leaf axils. Leaves are oval, thick, and somewhat succulent.

Threatened in MI, MN, WI.


From the Image Gallery

5 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AR , IA , IL , IN , KS , MI , MN , MO , ND , NE , OH , OK , SD , WI
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: S. Ont. to MN, s. to OH, KY, n. AR & e. KS
Native Habitat: Prairie, Meadow, Field, Wet Meadow, Prairie, Field

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil Description: Various moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Not picky.


Warning: All plants in the genus Asclepias are probably somewhat toxic, some fatally so, to both humans and animals. The sap of some causes skin irritation in humans. POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Toxic only in large quantities. Syptoms include, vomiting, stupor, weakness, spasms. Toxic Principle: Cardiac glycosides and resinoids. (Poisonous Plants of N.C. State)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Monarch

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)

(Danaus plexippus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


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 Treatment: Stratify 3 months at 40 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2014-11-02
Research By: TWC Staff

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