Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed) - photos and description






Monarch butterfly caterpillar on Showy Milkweed leaf

Fruit in above photo.

General: Stout-stemmed plants with large leaves. Rhizomatous, they are usually found in colonies of many plants. Stems and leaves when broken exude a milky white sap.

Flowers: Flowers pink and white, fragrant, in globose umbels. Umbel measured at 7 cm across, and a single flower measured at 2.5 cm in diameter.

Leaves: Leaves large, opposite, broadly lanceolate to ovate with short petioles, we measured a leaf at 14 cm long and 7.5 cm wide. Stems and bottom of leaves pubescent, top of leaves with short hairs.

Fruit: Large, spindle-shaped, whitish-pink in colour, tomentose, covered in small tubercles. We measured a fruit at 8 cm long by 3 cm wide.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 100 cm. We measured plants to 91 cm tall.

Habitat: Habitat is moist grassland and roadsides. Very common along the #1 highway west of Swift Current.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Native.

When and where photographed: Took the above photos July 28th, roadside in the Qu'Appelle Valley 140 km north east of our home in Regina, SK. Normally these plants flower earlier in July, I photographed plants that had been mowed in the spring and were, therefore, late to bloom. Photo of the fruit taken August 13th, native plant garden at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina, SK.