Asclepias californica

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Asclepias californica
California milkweed
Asclepias sp. flowers (Marshal Hedin).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. californica
Binomial name
Asclepias californica

Asclepias californica is a species of milkweed known by the common name California milkweed. It grows throughout lower northern, central and southern California.


Asclepias californica is native to California and northern Baja California. It is a flowering perennial with thick, white, woolly stems which bend or run along the ground. The plentiful, hanging flowers are rounded structures with reflexed corollas and starlike arrays of bulbous anthers.

The flowers are dark purple.[1]


This plant was eaten as candy by the Kawaiisu tribes of indigenous California; the milky sap within the leaves is flavorful and chewy when cooked, but can be poisonous when raw.


Asclepias californica is an important monarch butterfly caterpillar host plant, and chrysalis habitat plant. The alkaloids caterpillars ingest from the plant are retained in the butterfly, making it unpalatable to predators.[2]


  1. ^ Jepson Herbaria of the University of California at Berkeley.  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  2. ^ Graf, Michael (1999). Plants of the Tahoe Basin: Flowering Plants, Trees, and Ferns : a Photographic Guide. University of California Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-520-21583-2. 

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