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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This perennial wildflower is highly variable in size (2-6' tall), depending on environmental conditions. The central stem branches occasionally, forming ascending lateral stems; these stems are light green, terete, and glabrous. The opposite leaves are up to 6" long and 1½" across, although they are more typically about 3" long and ½" across. They are narrowly lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate in shape, smooth (entire) along their margins, and glabrous. Upper leaf surfaces are medium to dark green, although they can become yellowish green or pale green in response to bright sunlight and hot dry conditions. The leaves are either sessile or their bases clasp the stems. Upper stems terminate in pink umbels of flowers spanning about 2-3½" across. Each flower is about ¼" across, consisting of 5 upright whitish hoods and 5 surrounding pink petals that droop downward in the manner of most milkweeds. The blooming period occurs during late summer and lasts about a month. The flowers exude a pleasant fragrance that resembles cinnamon. Afterwards, successfully cross-pollinated flowers are replaced by seedpods. The seedpods (follicles) are 3-4" long and narrowly lanceoloid-ellipsoid in shape. Immature seedpods are light green, smooth, and glabrous, turning brown at maturity. Each seedpod splits open along one side to release its seeds. These seeds have large tufts of white hair and they are distributed by the wind during the fall. The root system is rhizomatous, from which clonal colonies of plants occasionally develop. Cultivation
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

This is usually an attractive and elegant plant. It is the only milkweed in Illinois that favors wetland habitats. Swamp Milkweed is easily distinguished from other milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) by its erect umbels of pink flowers, tall branching habit, and relatively narrow leaves. Other milkweeds with pink flowers, such as Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) and Asclepias sullivantii (Prairie Milkweed), are shorter and less branched plants with wider leaves. Sometimes stray plants of Swamp Milkweed occur in drier areas; these specimens are usually much shorter and little branched, but their leaves remain narrow in shape. Return
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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More info for the term: swamp

Swamp milkweed is found throughout the eastern and midwestern United
States and Canada. It occurs from Prince Edward Island and Maine west
to southern Manitoba [20,23,21]. Swamp milkweed continues southeast
through the Midwest and Great Plains to Florida [6,15,18]. Its
distribution extends westward to Texas and New Mexico [2,20,24]. Six
disjunct areas of its range occur in southern Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada,
and north, central, and south Utah [3,26].
  • 2. Correll, Donovan S.; Johnston, Marshall C. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Renner, TX: Texas Research Foundation. 1881 p. [4003]
  • 6. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 15. Lakela, O. 1965. A flora of northeastern Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 541 p. [18142]
  • 18. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 20. Scoggan, H. J. 1978. The flora of Canada. Ottawa, Canada: National Museums of Canada. (4 volumes) [18143]
  • 21. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 23. Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 1725 p. [18144]
  • 24. Tidestrom, I.; Kittell, T. 1941. A flora of Arizona and New Mexico. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press. 897 p. [18145]
  • 26. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 3. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4. Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Swamp Milkweed is a fairly common plant that occurs in nearly all counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include open to partially shaded areas in floodplain forests, swamps, thickets, moist black soil prairies, low areas along rivers and ponds, seeps and fens, marshes, and drainage ditches. Swamp Milkweed can be found in both high quality and degraded habitats. Faunal Associations
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

6 Upper Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains

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Occurrence in North America

AZ CT FL GA ID IL IN LA ME MA
MI MN MO NV NH NM ND OK RI SC
SD TN TX UT VT VA WI WY MB NB
NS ON PE PQ

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Asclepias incarnata var. longifolia A. Gray:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Asclepias incarnata L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: caudex, rootstock

Swamp milkweed is an erect plant, 11 to 18 inches (0.3-0.5 m) tall, with
milky sap. It has a short rootstock or caudex with shallow fibrous
roots. A plant may have one to several leafy stems. Its lance-shaped,
opposite leaves have short stalks. Flowers have many elaborate
structures (e.g., hoods and horns) and are arranged in flesh-colored
terminal umbels [23].
  • 23. Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 1725 p. [18144]

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

Swamp milkweed is a semiaquatic plant [3]. It occurs in a range of wet
conditions from standing water to saturated soil. A riparian species,
it is found on streambanks, pond shores, banks, and floodplains of
lakes, waterways, marshes, swamps, and wet areas of prairies
[6,13,18,21]. Additionally, it occurs in wet meadows and in low wet
woods [23].
  • 6. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 13. Kron, Kathleen A. 1989. The vegetation of Indian Bowl wet prairie and its adjacent plant communities. II. Checklist of vascular plants. Michigan Botanist. 28(4): 201-215. [17359]
  • 18. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 21. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 23. Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 1725 p. [18144]
  • 3. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4. Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: swamp

45 Pitch pine
50 Black locust
53 White oak
55 Northern red oak
57 Yellow-poplar
58 Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock
59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
61 River birch - sycamore
64 Sassafras - persimmon
65 Pin oak - sweetgum
69 Sand pine
70 Longleaf pine
73 Southern redcedar
75 Shortleaf pine
79 Virginia pine
80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
81 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
83 Longleaf pine - slash pine
84 Slash pine
87 Sweet gum - yellow-poplar
88 Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf oak
89 Live oak
91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak
96 Overcup oak - water hickory
97 Atlantic white cedar
101 Baldcypress
102 Baldcypress - tupelo
103 Water tupelo - swamp tupelo
104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay
105 Tropical hardwoods
109 Hawthorn
110 Black oak
111 South Florida slash pine
222 Black cottonwood - willow
235 Cottonwood - willow
252 Paper birch

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES28 Western hardwoods

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Swamp Milkweed is a fairly common plant that occurs in nearly all counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include open to partially shaded areas in floodplain forests, swamps, thickets, moist black soil prairies, low areas along rivers and ponds, seeps and fens, marshes, and drainage ditches. Swamp Milkweed can be found in both high quality and degraded habitats. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K025 Alder - ash forest
K081 Oak savanna
K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100
K084 Cross Timbers
K089 Black Belt
K090 Live oak - sea oats
K091 Cypress savanna
K100 Oak - hickory forest
K104 Appalachian oak forest
K105 Mangrove
K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest
K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest
K112 Southern mixed forest
K113 Southern floodplain forest
K114 Pocosin
K115 Sand pine scrub
K116 Subtropical pine forest

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects and Birds of Swamp Milkweed in Illinois

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
(Insects and hummingbirds suck nectar; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Betz, LaBerge, Grundel & Pavlovic, and Hilty as indicated below)

With pollinia:

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus fq, Bombus fraternus fq, Bombus griseocallis fq, Bombus impatiens, Bombus pensylvanica, Bombus vagans, Psithyrus citrinus; Anthophoridae (Emphorini): Melitoma taurea; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes comptoides, Melissodes trinodis, Svastra atripes atripes

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis metallica metallica fq, Halictus confusus, Halictus rubicunda, Lasioglossum coriaceus; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes latitarsis

Wasps
Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Bembix americana, Bembix nubilipennis fq, Sphecius speciosus fq, Stictia carolina, Stizus brevipennis; Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Ectemnius rufifemur, Oxybelus packardii; Sphecidae (Larrinae): Pseudoplisus phaleratus, Tachytes aurulenta fq, Tachytes distinctus, Tachytes pepticus; Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris bicornuta fq, Cerceris clypeata, Cerceris compacta, Cerceris finitima, Cerceris fumipennis; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Isodontia apicalis, Isodontia philadelphica, Prionyx atrata fq, Prionyx thomae fq, Sceliphron caementaria, Sphex ichneumonea fq, Sphex nudus, Sphex pensylvanica fq; Vespidae: Dolichovespula maculata, Polistes fuscata, Polistes rubiginosus, Vespula germanica, Vespula squamosa fq, Vespula vidua; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus annulatus; Sapygidae: Sapyga interrupta; Tiphiidae: Myzinum quinquecincta fq; Scoliidae: Scolia bicincta; Pompilidae: Ageniella acceptus, Anoplius atrox, Entypus unifasciatus, Episyron biguttatus, Tachypompilus ferruginea

Flies
Stratiomyidae: Stratiomys meigenii; Mydidae: Mydas clavatus, Mydas tibialis; Conopidae: Physocephala tibialis, Physoconops brachyrhynchus fq; Tachinidae: Gymnoclytia occidua, Panzeria aldrichi, Trichopoda lanipes

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Danaus plexippus, Libytheana carinenta, Speyeria cybele, Speyeria idalia, Vanessa atalanta; Pieridae: Colias philodice, Pieris rapae; Papilionidae: Battus philenor, Papilio cresphontes, Papilio glaucus, Papilio polyxenes asterias, Papilio troilus

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Achalarus lyciades, Polites themistocles

Beetles
Cantharidae: Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus; Scarabaeidae (Cetonniae): Euphoria sepulcralis, Trichiotinus piger

Plant Bugs
Lygaeidae: Lygaeus turcicus, Oncopeltus fasciatus

Without pollinia:

Birds
Trochilidae: Archilochus colubris

Bees (long-tongued)
Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Lasioglossum versatus

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Oxybelus emarginatus; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Eumenes fraterna; Pompilidae: Entypus fulvicornis

Flies
Bombyliidae: Sparnopolius confusus; Conopidae: Physoconops brachyrrhinchus, Stylogaster biannulata; Tachinidae: Gnadochaeta globosa, Gnadochaeta metallica, Masiphya brasiliana, Opsidia gonioides, Spallanzania hespidarum; Sarcophagidae: Gymnoprosopa polita

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Phyciodes tharos; Lycaenidae: Strymon melinus

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Epargyreus clarus, Pholisora catullus, Polites peckius, Pompeius verna

Moths
Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera pulchella; Cerambycidae: Tetraopes tetrophthalmus; Meloidae: Epicauta vittata fq

Pollinia Presence Unspecified:

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera (Btz); Apidae (Bombinae): Bombus auricomus (Btz), Bombus griseocallis (Btz); Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Svastra obliqua obliqua (LB); Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile latimanus (Btz)

Wasps
Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Sphecius speciosus (H); Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Sphex ichneumonea (Btz), Sphex pensylvanica (Btz)

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Danaus plexippus (Btz), Limenitis archippus (Btz); Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis (GP); Pieridae: Colias philodice (Btz), Pieris rapae (Btz)

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General Ecology

Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: severity, surface fire, swamp

Following a cool surface fire, swamp milkweed sprouts from the caudex
and produces fruit. If plants have been killed, off-site seeds will be
wind dispersed into the burned area. This seed will germinate on burned
areas during the first postfire growing season, provided soil conditions
are wet.

Long-term response: Swamp milkweed should have no difficulties in
maintaining populations. It can self-fertilize; sexual reproduction
will continue, despite a reduced number of colonizing plants.

Plant recovery is controlled by the severity of the fire and
availability of adequately wet habitat.

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the terms: caudex, fire severity, severity

No fire studies on this plant have been reported. A fire would kill
swamp milkweed back to the caudex. In moist soil, the caudex is usually
not deeply rooted. Death would depend upon fire severity. It may
survive a cool fire. Late season (summer and fall) fires would have the
greatest effect on this species. Since its seeds are not shed until
October or November, a late season fire would kill the seed crop of the
current year.

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: caudex, root crown

survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
off-site colonizer; seed carried by wind; postfire years 1 and 2

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: severity, swamp

The moist habitat of swamp milkweed discourages fire entry. Swamp
milkweed is very shallowly rooted; it would most likely be killed in a
fire of any severity. Adjacent communities may serve as seed sources
after a fire. Swamp milkweed is a component of prairie wetlands, so it
has evolved with some fire exposure.

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: caudex

Swamp milkweed readily germinates from seed shed the previous year (50
to 88 percent germination [11]) after cold stratification, 39 degrees
Fahrenheit (4 deg C), for approximately 9 months. A plant puts up an
average of one stem from a short caudex and sprouts each year from this
rootstock. Flowers are insect pollinated (Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera)
[10]. Seeds have long hairs that facilitate wind dispersal in the fall.
Swamp milkweed is self-fertile [8]. It very rarely reproduces asexually
by rhizomes [8].
  • 8. Kephart, Susan R. 1981. Breeding systems in Asclepias incarnata L., A. syriaca L., and A. verticillata L. American Journal of Botany. 68: 226-232. [18147]
  • 10. Kephart, Susan R.; Heiser, Charles B., Jr. 1980. Reproductive isolation in Asclepias: lock and key hypothesis reconsidered. Evolution. 34(4): 738-746. [18148]
  • 11. Kerans, Karen. 1990. Country Wetlands Nursery Ltd. Restoration & Management Notes. 8(1): 29-31. [14513]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

Hemicryptophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

Swamp milkweed is a colonizer. It has wind-dispersed seeds and can
self-fertilize.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: swamp

Across its range, swamp milkweed begins to flower during the last week
of June or the first week in July and continues until August or
September [2,6,15,18,21,23]. Individual flowers remain open for about 1
week [9]. Fruits mature from August through October [2,6,15,18,21,23].
After maturation, follicles split open on one side to release seeds
during October and November [23].
  • 2. Correll, Donovan S.; Johnston, Marshall C. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Renner, TX: Texas Research Foundation. 1881 p. [4003]
  • 6. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 9. Kephart, Susan R. 1987. Phenological variation in flowering and fruiting of Asclepias. The American Midland Naturalist. 118(1): 64-76. [18146]
  • 15. Lakela, O. 1965. A flora of northeastern Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 541 p. [18142]
  • 18. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 21. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 23. Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 1725 p. [18144]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Asclepias incarnata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Asclepias incarnata L.

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

Swamp milkweed seeds have long hairs, called comas. Seed comas have
been used as pillow and lifejacket stuffing [3,23]. Stem fibers have
been suggested as substitutes for flax and hemp [3]. Young shoots,
inflorescences, and leaves may be cooked with several changes of water
and eaten [23]. This plant causes dermititis.
  • 23. Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 1725 p. [18144]
  • 3. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4. Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: swamp

Swamp milkweed foliage and stems have been reported to cause mortality
in sheep. It is not known why sheep are so susceptible [7,12].
Muskrats are unaffected by swamp milkweed and readily eat the roots
[23].
  • 7. Hansen, Albert A. 1924. Robitin--a potent plant poison. Better Crops. 2(2): 22-23; 44. [29437]
  • 12. Kingsbury, John M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 626 p. [122]
  • 23. Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 1725 p. [18144]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Swamp milkweed is currently used in Wisconsin for wetland rehabilitation
[11]. It is included in commercially available seed mixes.
  • 11. Kerans, Karen. 1990. Country Wetlands Nursery Ltd. Restoration & Management Notes. 8(1): 29-31. [14513]

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Palatability

Milkweeds in general are not palatable to wildlife. The bitter milky
juice is high in alkaloids [17]. Most animals avoid it unless forced to
eat it on overgrazed pastures [17].
  • 17. Muenscher, W. C. 1940. Poisonous plants of the United States. New York: MacMillan Co. 266 p. [18141]

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Wikipedia

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed, rose milkweed, swamp silkweed, and white Indian hemp) is a herbaceous perennial plant species native to North America.[2] It grows in damp to wet soils and also is cultivated as a garden plant for its flowers, which attract butterflies and other pollinators with nectar. Like most other milkweeds, it has sap containing toxic chemicals,[3] a characteristic that repels insects and other herbivorous animals.

Description[edit]

Swamp milkweed is an upright, 100- to 150-centimeter (39- to 59-inches) tall plant, growing from thick, fleshy, white roots. Typically, its stems are branched and the clump forming plants emerge in late spring after most other plants have begun growth for the year. The oppositely arranged leaves are 7 to 15 centimeters (2.75 to 6 inches) long and are narrow and lance-shaped, with the ends tapering to a sharp point.

The plants bloom in early to mid-summer, producing small, fragrant, pink to mauve (sometimes white) colored flowers in rounded umbels. The flower color may vary from darker shades of purple to soft, pinkish purple and a white flowering form exists as well. The flowers have five reflexed petals and an elevated central crown. After blooming, green seed pods, approximately 12 centimeters (4.5 inches) long, are produced that when ripe, split open. They then release light to dark brown, flat seeds that are attached to silver-white silky-hairs ideal for catching the wind. This natural mechanism for seed dispersal is similar to that used by other milkweed plants.[4]

Habitat[edit]

Swamp milkweed prefers moisture retentive to damp soils in full sun to partial shade and typically, is found growing wild near the edges of ponds, lakes, streams, and low areas—or along ditches.[5] It is one of the best attractors of the Monarch Butterfly, which feeds on the flowers and lays her eggs on the plants. The emerging caterpillars feed on the leaves.

The plants have specialized roots for living in heavy wet soils. The scented, thick, white roots are adapted to live in environments low in oxygen. Blooming occurs in mid to late summer and after blooming; long, relatively thin, rounded, pods are produced that grow uprightly. The pods split open in late summer to late fall, releasing seeds that are attached to silky hairs, which act as parachutes that carry the seeds on the currents of the wind.

Cultivation[edit]

This species is cultivated frequently and a number of cultivars are available. They are used especially in gardens designed to attract butterflies. The nectar of the plant attracts many other species of butterflies and insects as well. The plants are also sold as freshly cut flowers, mostly for their long-lasting flower display, but sometimes, for the distinctive seed pods.

Images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kartesz, J.T. (1994). "Asclepias incarnata". NatureServe. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Plants Profile for Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed). USDA NRCS.
  3. ^ Foster, S. and R. A. Caras. (1994). A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants, North America, North of Mexico. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-395-93608-5. 
  4. ^ "Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)". Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. USGS. August 3, 2006. Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Asclepias incarnata". Kemper Center for Home Gardening. Missouri Botanical Garden. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2009. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

More info for the term: swamp

The currently accepted scientific name of swamp milkweed is Asclepias incarnata L.
(Asclepidaceae). There is disagreement in the taxonomic literature
about infrataxa treatment. Two subspecies are recognized:

Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata [23]
A. i. ssp. pulchra (Ehrh. ex Willd.) Woods. [23]

Also recognized are the following variety and forms:

A. i. var. incarnata f. incarnata [21]
A. i. var. incarnata f. albiflora--Found only in Missouri [21]
A. i. var. incarnata f. rosea Bowin--Found only in southern
Ontario, Canada [18].

This report does not use infrataxa; they rarely appear in the
literature.
  • 18. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 21. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 23. Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 1725 p. [18144]

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Common Names

swamp milkweed
milkweed

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Synonyms

Asclepias pulchra Ehrh. ex Willd.

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