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(Asclepias purpurascens)
Purple Milkweed

Host Plant: Monarch Butterflies

Nectar Plant: many insects

Flower Color: Purple

Growth Habit: Herbaceous plant that grows to 2-3 feet tall

Range in North America: Midwest and Eastern North America

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Soil Requirements: fertile, moist, well-drained soil

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Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)

Purple flower cluster of purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens).
Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) Flowers — Steepcone, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

No other alternative names known.

Description of Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)

Purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens), a member of the Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family), is a herbaceous perennial that grows to 3 feet tall and blooms in the spring and summer with purple/pink flowers.  The leaves are opposite, simple, entire margined, ovate to lanceolate in shape, and are 2 to 7 inches in length and 1 to 4 inches in width.  More information on this species can be found on this blog post about purple milkweed.

Hosted Species

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on orange flower.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on orange flower — ALAN SCHMIERER from southeast AZ, USA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

Many other insects use this plant as a nectar source.


Purple milkweed grows in open areas such as fields, roadsides, and meadows.  It is native to eastern and mid-western North America.

Range of Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) in the United States and Canada

Range of purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Asclepias, is the Greek name for the God of Medicine.  The species name, purpurascens, is Latin for “purple,” and refers to the purple flowers.

Native Location

Ontario, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone

Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9


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Purple Milkweed”

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