Asclepias syriaca L. Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)
Stoutly erect, patch-forming perennial.
Young common milkweed plant.
Opposite, oval, oblong to egg-shaped leaves are 3 to 8 inches long with smooth margins and distinctly white midveins and veins. The upper leaf surface is dark green and usually smooth; the lower leaf surface is pale green and finely hairy. Leaves exude a milky sap when damaged.
Common milkweed leaf.
Stout and erect, rarely branched, up to 6-foottall herbaceous stems are finely hairy and hollow and exude a milky sap when damaged.
Flowers and fruit
Purple, pink to white flowers are found in dense, ball-like clusters consisting of 20 to 130 individual flowers. Fruit are large, 3- to 5-inch-long, grayish green, teardrop-shaped pods covered with soft, warty bumps. Pods split open at maturity to release thin, brown, oval seeds each with a tuft of long, silky hairs that aid in wind dissemination.
Common milkweed flower clusters (left). Common milkweed fruit (right). Mature fruit and seed of common milkweed (bottom).
Seeds, creeping roots and rhizomes.
Print a PDF of this page: Common milkweed
The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.