Asclepias incarnata Rose Milkweed Marsh Milkweed
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Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
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|Pink||30 - 60||Average
|18 - 36||Perennial|
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Asclepias incarnata Marsh Milkweed potted plants are $5 each plus UPS shipping
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| Asclepias incarnata
Marsh or Swamp Milkweed seed
1 packet - $2.50 + shipping
|100||25 sq ft|
1 ounce - $26.00
|3685||180 sq ft|
1 pound - $260.00
|58,960||2,880 sq ft|
Asclepias incarnata, Rose Milkweed, Marsh Milkweed, or Swamp Milkweed, Butterflies love this plant! Often several different species of butterflies are feeding on its nectar at once. Marsh Milkweed is a favorite host plant for the Monarch butterfly caterpillar. Attractive rounded clusters of delicately scented pink flowers grow from smooth-stemmed branches that grow up to 5 feet tall. Each small flower has 5 curved petals surrounding 5 contrasting light pink to whitish hoods providing exquisite beauty. Marsh or Swamp Milkweed plants grow quickly and typically bloom sometime during June, July and August. Marsh Milkweed is the only native milkweed that enjoys moist soil. Marsh Milkweed seeds germinate without pretreatment.
Marsh Milkweed is an excellent addition to the butterfly garden and can be grown in average garden soil when mulched.
Native Asclepias incarnata Rose Milkweed is an attractive plant occurring naturally in low wet areas, such as the borders of marshes, ponds, and streams from Maine and Quebec to Manitoba, Wyoming, and Utah, south to Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. Asclepiadaceae ( Milkweed Family)
The map below
shows areas where native Rose (Marsh) Milkweed plant grows wild but it can be planted and will grow over
a much wider area than shown.
USDA plant hardiness zones 2 to 9 (-38°F)
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incarnata, marsh Milkweed Swamp Milkweed Plant distribution map
complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
(http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
supply tough fibers for making cords and ropes,
and for weaving a coarse cloth. Milkweed
stems were collected after the stalks dried in late fall early winter. The dried stalks were split open to release the fibers;
milkweed fibers were sometimes mixed with fibers of Indian-hemp (Apocynum cannabinum). The
bark is removed and the fibers released by first rubbing between the hands and
then drawing the fibers over a hard surface.
Twisting the fiber opposite each other and twining them together formed
the cord; often this was accomplished by rolling the fibers on the thigh while
twisting them together.
quantities of fiber plants are required for the making of nets, regalia, and
cordage by California Indians. Blackburn
and Anderson (1993) quote Craig Bates of the Yosemite Museum that it takes
approximately five stalks of milkweed or Indian hemp to manufacture one foot of
cordage. A Sierra Miwok feather
skirt or cape contain about 100 feet of cordage made from approximately 500
plant stalks, while a deer net 40 feet in length contained some 7,000 feet of
cordage, which would have required the harvesting of a staggering 35,000 plant
stalks, (Barrett and Gifford 1933:178).
young shoots, stems, flower buds, immature fruits, and roots of showy milkweed
were boiled and eaten as a vegetable by various indigenous groups of eastern and
some areas the young leaves and stems were used as greens.
The flowers were also eaten raw or boiled, and the buds were boiled for
soup or with meat. The most common use for these plants, recorded among almost
all the tribes throughout California, was to obtain a kind of chewing gum from
the sap of Asclepias speciosa.
The sticky white sap was heated slightly until it became solid, then
added to salmon fat or deer grease.
sap of Asclepias speciosa was used as
a cleansing and healing agent by some of the desert tribes for sores, cuts, and
as a cure for warts and ringworm. The
silky hairs were burned off the ripe seeds, which were then ground and made into
a salve for sores. Seeds were
boiled in a small amount of water and the liquid used to soak rattlesnake bites
to draw out the poison. A hot tea
made from the roots was given to bring out the rash in measles or as a cure for
coughs. It was also employed as a
wash to cure rheumatism. The mashed
root, moistened with water, was used as a poultice to reduce swellings.
species are attractive to butterflies, bees, and other insects.
Accordingly, this is a wonderful horticultural plant for beautiful floral
landscaping that attracts butterflies (particularly Monarchs) and other insects.
butterflies are specific to milkweed plants.
This is the only type of plant on which the eggs are laid and the larvae
will feed and mature into a chrysalis. Eggs
are laid on the underside of young healthy leaves.
It is important to have large clumps of milkweeds for the young
caterpillars; their response to predation is to drop to the ground and
"play possum." They
cannot find their way back to the milkweed stems, which they need to survive,
unless they are fairly densely spaced.
Queen and Viceroy butterflies are Müllerian mimics; all are toxic, and have
co-evolved similar warning patterns to avoid predation.
Other insects, which utilize milkweed, are the large milkweed bug, common
milkweed bug, red milkweed beetle, blue milkweed beetle, and bees.
sap contains a lethal brew of cardenolides (heart poison), which produces
vomiting in low doses and death in higher doses. Chemicals from the milkweed plant make the monarch
caterpillar's flesh distasteful to most animals.
At one time, milkweed was classified as a noxious weed due to reported
toxic effects on livestock, and efforts were made to eradicate it.
Milkweeds are thought to be poisonous to cows and sheep.
Family (Asclepiadaceae). Asclepias
flowers look like crowns, with the corolla reflexed and hoods elevated above the
corolla. Showy milkweed (Asclepias
speciosa) is a hairy perennial with stems ascending to erect.
The leaves are opposite, persistent, with short petioles, elliptic to
ovate blades, and bases rarely cordate and clasping.
The corolla is reflexed and rose-purple; the hoods are elevated above the
corolla in pink, aging yellow. Horns
are exerted beyond the hoods.
Milkweed grows in clumps beside roadways and on abandoned farmlands and
other open areas, reaching heights of 120 to 150 cm (4 to 5 ft) during the
summer. Milkweed species grow
throughout the United States. Showy
milkweed occurs in many sunny, dry habitats including fields and roadsides, from
0 to 1900 m. The plant occurs in
California to British Colombia and Central Canada south to Texas.
seeds after pods have ripened, but before they have split open.
The seeds are wind dispersed, so be careful when gathering to place in a
paper or burlap bag to avoid seed lost. Seeds
can be directly sewn into the ground in the fall.
The seed is very viable. Planting seed the first fall after collecting
seeds maximizes revegetation success. It
is not certain how long seeds can be stored.
treatment for three months improves seed germination in some milkweed species
from higher elevations or colder climates (where it freezes in the winter).
Revegetation success with milkweeds seems to be improved by planting
seeds directly in the ground. High mortality seems to occur with plants in pots and they
don't overwinter well in pots. Milkweed
plants naturally die back in winter, but re-emerge during the following spring
unless planted in a pot
milkweed species with rhizomes, propagation by cuttings of the tuberous rhizome
is also easy and reliable. The
cuttings should be made when the plant is dormant.
Each piece of the rhizome should have at least one bud (they are about
two inches apart). Timing of
propagation is important. Harvest
or divide plants and move them in October at the beginning of the rainy season.
Place the plants in the ground by late fall so they can develop enough
root growth to survive the winter. Irrigation
the first year will improve survival, and by the second year the root system
should be well enough established so plants will survive on their own.
Both seedlings and cuttings will usually bloom in their second year,
although cuttings will occasionally bloom during their first year
used for fiber, milkweed is collected in the autumn after the leaves have begun
to senesce or dry up. Plants grow
in places that have been disturbed such as road grading, construction sites,
logging landing fills, and etc. Pete
Bunting (pers. comm. 2-9-1999) says, "In the fall when the milkweed has
dried I check to see if they will break off at the ground line.
The plants are usually a yellow tan to gray depending on how long they
have dried. I like the gray for
softer string, but the fibers are shorter.
The tan stalks have longer fibers but are also stiff and hard to work but
very long. I break off as many of
the plants as I can gather as they are going to resprout in the spring.
I try and let them dry some more. Then
I process them. I have used plants
that have over-wintered under snow and they were fine but had soft, short fiber.
After 2 winters they are usually no good but you have another year's
stalks to pick by then." The dried stalks are then split open and the fibers are
twisted into string.
Both milkweed and dogbane were burned in the fall by California Indian tribes to eliminate dead stalks and stimulate new growth. Burning causes new growth to have taller, straighter stems with longer fibers. It also stimulates flower and seed production.