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For diagrams explaining the complex Milkweed flower structure, click and then scroll down to #4. Very interesting.

Also click to see the ultimate Asclepias page.

And give one more click to read a very entertaining and scientifically accurate account of Asclepias pollination.

See also Asclepias macrosperma and tuberosa and Asclepias asperula

Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family) formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Above: Carpenter Trail, June 29, 2016.
Left: Highway 145 north of Dolores, July 22, 2004.

Broad, long, and widely spaced leaves ascend a tall and sturdy flower stalk topped by a huge, showy cluster of pink/white flowers. These Milkweeds are common along moist roadsides and fields.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753.  John Torrey named the species from a specimen collected by Edwin James in 1820 "on the Canadian [River]".  (Quotation from Intermountain Flora.)  "Asclepias" was a legendary Greek physician and the Greek god of medicine and "speciosa" is Latin for "showy" or "beautiful".

Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Highway 145 north of Dolores, July 22, 2004.

Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Highway 145 north of Dolores, July 22, 2004.

Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family) 
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Near Dolores River, September 19, 2006.

Three inch long gray Milkweed seed pods split in the fall and in a few days silken plumes will carry brown seeds on stormy winds.

The numerous silky hairs were used in the past as pillow filling. Now the seed pods are just a great bomb for kids to throw at each other.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Asclepias speciosa