Common Milkweed
(Asclepias syriaca)
Milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) Family


Asclepias spp.: The genus is named after Asclepios, son of Apollo and God of Medicine for Ancient Greeks. Aesculapius (and not Aescupalius) is the latin version of the same god.


Shoots of common milkweed arise from rootstock buds of the root system:

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or for a closer look:

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The shoot emerge:

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Shoots with early bromoxynil injury:

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They infest most types of crops, causing problems for everyone:

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The plants are very competitive, with large leaves:

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Plant parts have copious amounts of milky sap, a natural latex product, that can be quite sticky. This sap is one or two products that people have tried to commercialize from this nasty weed:

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Glyphosate injury:

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The flowers of common milkweed are quite beautiful:

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Swamp Smartweed.  The milkweed family has many members, many of which also have beautiful flowers. Below are flowers of swamp milkweed, another milkweed species found mostly in waste areas:

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As time passes after flowering, the seeds mature in the distinctive seed pods of common milkweed:

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It is from the seed pods, and the seeds, that the second commercialized product came from, the silky fibers of the seed used as a kapok substitute during WWII when regular sources were disrupted by the war.

 

 

©jdekker-1998

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