Common milkweed – Asclepias syriaca

Common milkweed

Asclepias syriaca L.
Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)

Life cycle

Stoutly erect, patch-forming perennial.


Opposite, oval, oblong to egg-shaped leaves are 3 to 8 inches long with smooth margins and distinctly white midveins and veins. The upper leaf surface is dark green and usually smooth; the lower leaf surface is pale green and finely hairy. Leaves exude a milky sap when damaged.


Stout and erect, rarely branched, up to 6-foot-tall herbaceous stems are finely hairy and hollow and exude a milky sap when damaged.

Flowers and fruit

Purple, pink to white flowers are found in dense, ball-like clusters consisting of 20 to 130 individual flowers. Fruit are large, 3- to 5- inch-long, grayish green, teardrop-shaped pods covered with soft, warty bumps. Pods split open at maturity to release thin, brown, oval seeds each with a tuft of long, silky hairs that aid in wind dissemination.


Seeds, creeping roots and rhizomes.

Common milkweed flower
Common milkweed leaf
Common milkweed fruit
Common milkweed mature fruit
Common milkweed upper plant
Common milkweed young plant

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