Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
Prairie Milkweed and Smooth Milkweed
Description of Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii), a member of the Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family), is a herbaceous perennial that grows from 2 to 3 feet tall and has pink to purple flowers that bloom in the late spring and summer (roughly June to August). The leaves are simple, opposite, entire, ovate in shape, somewhat succulent, and are 3-6 inches in length and 1-3 inches wide. The leaves are also sessile to somewhat clasping. This plant grows in zones 3-7 and likes open areas with full sun that have moist to mesic soil. This plant, which is often found in prairies, hence one of the alternative names, and is similar to the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Sullivant’s milkweed has smooth stems, while the common milkweed does not. Sullivant’s Milkweed is considered rare in a lot of the states in which it occurs.
More information about Sullivant’s milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) can be found in this blog post.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)
Many species of bees and the Ruby-throated hummingbird use this plant as a nectar source.
This milkweed grows in prairies, moist meadows near watercourses, railroads, and roadside depressions.
Range of Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) in the United States and Canada
The genus name, Asclepias, is the Greek name for the God of Medicine. The species name, sullivantii, is in honor of William Starling Sullivant, an American-botanist (Missouri Botanical Garden).