Asclepias syriaca 

Common milkweed

Names and Myths

Asclepias from Asclepius the mythical son of Apollo the first great Greek healer

syriaca of Syria - most likely a mistake, for the genus  is North American.

Species List Family Group
Previous Study Next

Natural history / Folklore

Used in colonial times to stuff pillows and mattresses. Seeds were mixed with flax and wool.17 Milkweed down used in WW I used a flotation in Airmen’s outfits and life preservers.

All parts of the plant contain poisons21, but with boiling and several changes of water they can be eaten. They are avoided by livestock, and considered to be a pest by ranchers.


June August Purplish to pink drooping flower clusters, mostly in leaf axils. Five united petals with reflexed lobes. Leaves downy gray below, milky sap when bruised. Open fields, roadsides and waste places.