Habitat and range
This species is native to the western half of North America.
This flowering plant is a hairy, erect perennial.
Leaves and stems
The large, pointed, elongate, simple, entire leaves are arranged oppositely on stalks.
Inflorescence and fruit
The eye-catching, hirsute, pale pink through pinkish-purple flowers occur in dense umbellate cymes. Their corollas are reflexed and the central flower parts, five hoods with prominent hooks, form a star shape. The fruit is a large, rough follicle filled with many flat oval seeds, each with silky hairs.
This species flowers from May through September.
The young leaves and seed pods can be boiled and eaten.
Butterflies and moths
Asclepias speciosa is a specific monarch butterfly food and habitat plant. Additionally, phenylacetaldehyde produced by the plants attracts Synanthedon myopaeformis, the red-belted clearwing moth. It is also a larval host for the dogbane tiger moth and the queen butterfly.
- Sierra Nevada Wildflowers, Karen Wiese, 2nd Ed. 2013, p. 60.
- Lyons, C. P. (1956). Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in Washington (1st ed.). Canada: J. M. Dent & Sons. p. 196.
- Eby, Chelsea; Gardiner, Mark G.T.; Gries, Regine; Judd, Gary J.R.; Khaskin, Grigori; Gries, Gerhard (2013-04-01). "Phenylacetaldehyde attracts male and female apple clearwing moths, Synanthedon myopaeformis, to inflorescences of showy milkweed, Asclepias speciosa". Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 147 (1): 82–92. doi:10.1111/eea.12045. ISSN 1570-7458.
- The Xerces Society (2016), Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects, Timber Press.
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