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Swamp milkweed


Asclepias incarnata


Rose milkweed, Swamp silkweed, White indian hemp

Plant family

Dogbane (Apocynaceae)

Plant group

Wildflowers and Herbs

Swamp milkweed is an elegant herbaceous, branching perennial that typically grows 3-5 feet tall. Commonly found in wetland habitats.
139 reports

Identification hints

Swamp milkweed can be distinguished from other milkweed species by their long slender leaves, branching habit, and flower clusters that stand erect.

Did you know?

Swamp milkweed is an important plant for pollinators, especially the Monarch butterfly. Like other milkweeds, Swamp milkweed contains a chemical called cardiac glycoside which is toxic to most animals if ingested (including humans). The caterpillars of the monarch butterfly can eat the plant without being harmed and can take up the cardiac glycosides to protect them against predators that might be tempted to eat them. Swamp milkweed has also been used by humans, especially indigenous groups for a variety of uses. They harvested dry plants for their fibers to make ropes and, with proper preparation, were able to create remedies for a variety of ailments including chest pains, stomach problems, and childbirth issues.
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Swamp milkweed grows in wet soils in a variety of habitats both high quality and degraded.
The leaves grow opposite one another along the stems with a short petiole. Leaves and are long and narrow, 2 ½ "-6" long by ½ -2½" wide, tapering off at the leaf's tip. The leaves have a coarse texture, and can sometimes turn purplish at the end of the growing season.
Swamp milkweed flowers are arranged in clusters of more than 20 flowers. The individual flowers are about ¼" across, the petals pink to mauve and bent downward. The central column has 5 whitish hoods. Some commercial varieties of swamp milkweed are deep purple or white.
Fruit is a seedpod that opens along one side (follicle), usually about 3-4" long. The follicle is slender, smooth, and hairless, turning brown at maturity. The flat oval-shaped seeds have a large silky tuft of hair attached.
Bloom Time
Blooms late summer for about one month.

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