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(Asclepias erosa)
Desert Milkweed

Host Plant: Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)

Nectar Plant: many insects including other butterflies, bees, and wasps.

Flower Color: white, cream, green, to yellow with greenish-white

Growth Habit: herbaceous perennial

Range in North America: Southwestern United States

Exposure: Prefers full sun to partial sun

Hardiness: Zones 4-10

Soil Requirements: well-drained soil that is dry and sandy

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Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa)

White flowers of desert milkweed (Asclepias erosa).
Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa) — Joshua Tree National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

California desert milkweed and giant sand milkweed

Description of Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa)

Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa), a member of the Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family), is a herbaceous perennial that grows from 1′ to 4′ tall and blooms in the spring, summer, and fall (April to October).  The fruits, which are follicles, mature in the late summer to fall.  The leaves opposite, sessile to short-petioled, simple, erose margined, lanceolate in shape, and are 1.5 to 10 inches in length and 1 to 4.5 inches in width.  More information on this species can be found on this blog post.

Hosted Species

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and the Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)

Nectar Species

This is plant is a nectar plant for many other insects.

Native Range of Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa) in the United States and Canada

Range map of desert milkweed (Asclepias erosa) in the United States and Canada.

Habitat

Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa) is a herbaceous perennial that grows in washes, roadsides, and sandy plains.  It is native to the southwestern United States.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Asclepias, is derived from the Greek god of healing who was named Asclepius (Wikipedia).  The species name, erosa, derives from the erose margins of the leaves in a Latinized form.

Native Location

Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone

Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10

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Desert Milkweed”

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