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Asclepias rubra (Red milkweed)
Cressler, Alan

Asclepias rubra

Asclepias rubra L.

Red Milkweed, Tall Pink Bog Milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Synonym(s): Asclepias laurifolia

USDA Symbol: asru

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Herbaceous perennial with narrow, mostly glabrous stems 16" to 40" in height. Leaves opposite, ovate or lanceolate, 5-15 cm in length; sessile or nearly so. Inflorescences terminal and axillary from upper leaf nodes in many-flowered umbels. Flowers showy; color varies from lavender to pink to dull-red. Follicles 8-12cm long.

Endangered in MD; Extirpated in PA.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Ovate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acuminate , Acute
Leaf Base: Cordate , Rounded
Leaf Texture: Leathery
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Axillary , Cyme , Terminal , Umbel
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 40 inches in height.
Fruit: Follicle 8-12 cm in length.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Blooms late spring to summer.


USA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , LA , MD , MS , NC , NJ , NY , PA , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: NY south to FL, west to AR and TX.
Native Habitat: Bogs and marshy area in meadows and pine barrens.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist to wet acidic soils.


Use Ornamental: Useful for wetland gardens or landscapes with permanently moist soils.
Use Wildlife: Larval food for Monarch butterfly.
Use Food: Poisonous.
Warning: All parts poisonous.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Monarch butterfly.
Nectar Source: yes

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.

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2014-11-02
Research By: Joseph A. Marcus

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