COMMON MILKWEED

Common Milkweed (Asclepias Syriaca) is the tallest of the three milkweeds described in those pages. It can reach a height of 2 meters (6 ft.) and it DOES spread from a network of rhizomes in addition to the seeds from the pods. See photos below from Michelle Clay.
The pink clusters of flowers appear ALONG the top of the stems. The opposite leaves are large and round at the tip. The veins show a parallel pattern. This milkweed also produces latex when cut, but NOT the above two species. The seed pods are plump and covered with soft spikes. The silk from this milkweed has been exploited commercially as insulation for winter coats, for example.
COLLECTING THE SEEDS: Unless you want your milkweed to spread from seed all over the area around the plants, you need to deadhead the pods when they are forming. Or, if you want to collect the seeds, the time for harvesting the pods is when they start to split open. Once the pods are fully open, it doesn’t take long before the wind quickly disperses all those beautiful little silky parachutes.

Common Milkweed is higher and has larger leaves than Swamp & Butterfly Milkweeds - photo by Derek Ramsay, 2007
Common Milkweed is higher and has larger leaves than Swamp & Butterfly Milkweeds – Photo by Derek Ramsay – 2007
Common Milkweed seeds emerging from pod. Photo by Brocken Inaglory.
Common Milkweed seeds emerging from pod. Photo by Brocken Inaglory
Common Milkweed flowers bloom in clusters, are pink and are positioned along the top of the stems, NOT at the top like Swamp & Butterfly Milkweeds. Photo by James Steakley.
Common Milkweed flowers bloom in clusters, are pink and are positioned along the top of the stems, NOT at the top like Swamp & Butterfly Milkweeds. Photo by James Steakley
Common Milkweed roots - photo by Michelle Clay, Franklin, MA - Aug. 7, 2010
Common Milkweed roots – photo by Michelle Clay, Franklin, MA – Aug. 7, 2010
Common Milkweed seed pods are more plump than those of Swamp & Butterfly Milkweeds, and have soft spikes. Photo by H.Zell.
Common Milkweed seed pods are more plump than those of Swamp & Butterfly Milkweeds, and have soft spikes. Photo by H.Zell, Wikimedia.
Common Milkweed rhizomes with new stem buds - photo by Michelle Clay, Franklin, MA - Aug. 7, 2010
Common Milkweed rhizomes with new stem buds – photo by Michelle Clay, Franklin, MA – Aug. 7, 2010

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