Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
|Also known as:||Swamp Silkweed|
|Habitat:||sun; wet fields, swamps, along shores|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 4 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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2 to 3-inch convex flower clusters at the top of the plant. Flowers are ¼-inch across with a 5-parted crown with a curved horn sticking out of each of the 5 cylindrical hoods in the crown, arching over the short column in the center. 5 downward-curved petals flare out beneath. Flower color ranges from pink to magenta to red, the central column of the star-shaped crown is usually cream colored.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 1½ inches wide, hairless and toothless, tapering to a point at the tip on a short stalk; oppositely attached at the stem. Stems are mostly hairless but may have lines of fine hairs in the upper plant.
All Asclepias were formerly in family Asclepiadaceae but have been reassigned to Apocynaceae (Dogbane). Swamp milkweed can be easily distinguished from other milkweeds with pink flowers by its long narrow leaves. It grows easily in a home garden with average to moist soil—it is nearly exploding in my own back yard in heavy clay soil. Butterflies love it, and not just the Monarchs. Bees love it, too.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Swamp Milkweed plant
- milkweed beetle on Swamp Milkweed
- unusual white Swamp Milkweed flowers
- garden grown Swamp Milkweed
Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in a private garden in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?