Balloon Milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa) is a herbaceous perennial that grows in open areas such as fields, meadows, disturbed areas, and roadsides. This plant is a host for butterflies of the Danaus genus, which includes Monarchs. This plant can be purchased in the McMullen House Bed & Breakfast Garden Shop.
Taxonomy and History of Balloon Milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa)
Balloon Milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa) was originally described by Ernst Heinrich Frederich Meyer in 1838 as Gomphocarpus physocarpa. It was renamed to Asclepias physocarpa in 1896 by Rudolf Schlechter. This species is a member of the Dogbane Family (Apocynaceae).
Balloon Milkweed Description and Alternative Names
Balloon milkweed is a herbaceous perennial that grows from 4 to 6 feet tall. The opposite, simple, entire leaves range from 3 to 4 inches in length and 0.5 inches in width.
This plant is also known as the hairy balls, balloonplant, bishop’s balls, nailhead, and swan plant.
Range and Habitat
This species has been planted in South Carolina, Hawaii, and California. This plant is native to Africa.
Balloon Milkweed is generally found growing in open areas such as meadows, fields, grasslands, disturbed areas, and roadsides.
This plant is a host butterflies of the Danaus genus, which includes Monarchs.
Other Wildlife Value
This plant is used as a nectar source for butterflies and other insects.
The species name, physocarpus, means of bladder fruit. (Missouri Botanical Garden).