Asclepias purpurascens

Purple Milkweed
Great, Vibrant Color
Price Code: 
$8.50/qt., $12.50/gal.
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Asclepias purpurascens, commonly called purple milkweed, is a flambouyant, adaptive native perennial that commonly occurs in dry to moist open woods, dry ridge tops, thickets, glades, prairie openings, stream banks and wet meadows. It is similar in appearance to common milkweed (A. syriaca), except its flowers are deep rose pink and its leaves are more pointed. It typically grows 2-3’ tall on stout, upright stems with heavy, pointed, short-stalked, ovate to oblong-lanceolate, opposite leaves (to 8” long). Leaves are dark green above and slightly pubescent below. Stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. Tiny, deep rose-pink flowers appear in many-flowered umbels in May-July. Each tiny flower (to 3/4” long) has 5 reflexed petals and 5 purple heads. Flowers give way to smooth seed pods (to 6” long) which split open when ripe releasing their numerous silky-tailed seeds for dispersal by the wind. Seed pods are valued in dried flower arrangements. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly larvae (caterpillars).

It is easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Does well in poor, dryish soils. Drought tolerant. Easily grown from seed, and can self-seed in the landscape if seed pods are not removed prior to splitting open. If conditions are right, it can spread somewhat rapidly by rhizomes. Sometimes forms colonies in the wild.

We think that this is one of the more beautiful milkweeds.

The genus name honors the Greek god Asklepios, the god of medicine.

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