Asclepias incarnata, commonly called swamp milkweed, is an erect, clump-forming, native plant found in wet meadows, along wetland margins, and in river bottomlands in the Prairie Pothole Region. It grows 3-5' tall on branching stems. Small, fragrant (smells like bubblegum, seriously the flowers smell like bubblegum), pink to mauve flowers (1/4' wide). The flowers appear in tight clusters (umbels) at the stem ends in summer. Narrow, lance-shaped, taper-pointed leaves are 3-6' long. Stems exude a toxic white milky latex like sap when cut. Flowers are followed by attractive seed pods (to 4' long) which split open when ripe releasing silky-haired seeds easily carried by the wind. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies as a nectar source. In addition, swamp milkweed is an important food source for the larval stage of Monarch butterflies.
Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS
June 13, 2014
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