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Asclepias purpurascens

Pronunciation: Ass-klee-pee-us pur-pur-ah-senz
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Common Name: Purple milkweed
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 2'
Width to: 3'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Bloom Description: An attractive pinkish-purple flower
Propagation: Sow seed in containers in cold frame in early spring or divide in spring. Root basal cuttings in spring.
Native to: Us
Notes for Identification:

Range: found infrequently throughout indiana and from new england to north carolina and from minnesota to arkansas description: this native perennial plant is about 2-3' tall and unbranched. The central stem is light green, round, and glabrous or slightly pubescent. The opposite leaves are up to 6" long and 3" across. They are ovate-oblong or broadly lanceolate, with smooth margins that may undulate up and down. The leaves often curl upward from the pinkish central vein. The upper surface of the foliage is mostly glabrous and yellowish green to dark green (depending on light conditions), while the lower surface is light green and softly pubescent. The central stem terminates with 1-6 umbels of flowers; there may be a few axillary umbels from some of the upper leaves as well. Each rounded umbel is about 3" across. These flowers have the typical structure for milkweeds, and can be pale to deep purple in appearance, often with greenish or rosy tints. However, the central reproductive column and base of the deflexed petals are white. The hoods are much taller than the horns; the latter curve inward toward the reproductive column and appear spike-like (but are thicker toward the base). The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer, and lasts about 1-2 months. The flowers have a pleasant fragrance. If pollination occurs, the flowers are replaced by seedpods (follicles) that are held erect and are spindle-shaped. These seedpods are up to 6" long and 1" across, and tapered on both ends. They have a smooth surface and are finely pubescent. The seeds have large tufts of white hair, and are distributed by the wind. The root system consists of a fleshy taproot and short rhizomes; small clumps of plants can be produced vegetatively. Cultivation: the preference is partial sun and mesic conditions; this plant also tolerates light shade and full sun, as well as considerable variations in the moisture regime. Immature plants are inclined to wilt during a drought, and should be watered. The soil can consist of moisture-retaining loam or clay-loam. The plants make rapid growth during the late spring until they flower and form seedpods, then they gradually degenerate. It takes 3 years or more for a small transplant or seedling to reach flowering size. This plant is attacked by the usual milkweed insects, including yellow milkweed aphids that are sometimes found underneath the leaves. The leaves have tendency to turn yellow and curl in response to dry, sunny conditions, or as they mature.

Source: illinois wildflowers

butterfly nectar plant for the black swallowtail, baltimore checkerspot, great spangled fritillary, mourning cloak, queen, question mark, viceroy and the zabulon skipper.

a caterpillar host plant for the  monarch and  queen butterfly

Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 1
Located in: Perennials
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