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Free images of North American Wildflowers 
Milkweeds

Note on large files:  Very large files may be bigger than your screen.  
Right click on any portion of the image showing and chose "save as". 

 

Note:   I am not an expert in the identification of plants and you should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES rely 
upon any of these images to identify edible, toxic or medicinal plants. If I have identified a plant
inaccurately,  please let me know so that the descriptions may be corrected.  

 

The plants in the Asclepias genus are characterized by plants that have opposite leaves, variously coloured flowers grouped in umbels and a milky juice.  They are commonly known as "Milkweeds" so named for the milky juice they emit.  They have seed pods that split open and release seeds that have downy tufts for wind distribution.  

Milkweeds are an important species in naturalized vegetation since they are an important nectaring plant for many species of Lepidoptera, such as the Monarch butterfly.  Other than the Asclepias syriaca, the Common Milkweed, most Milkweeds are not invasive and do not pose a threat to agriculture.  Although most milkweeds are poisonous to livestock, it is only the Common Milkweed that grows in areas and pastures where animals will come into contact with them and where livestock graze.

Milkweed species in the province of Ontario include:  Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed); Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed): Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly-weed); and Asclepias exaltata (Poke Milkweed).  The following species are considered rare:  Asclepias purpurascens (Purple Milkweed); Asclepias sullivantii (Sullivant's Milkweed); Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed); Asclepias viridiflora (Green Milkweed); Asclepias hirtella (Prairie Milkweed).  A species similar to Milkweed is Cynanchum nigrum (Black Swallow-Wort) which is considered invasive.

Source:  Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food - Milkweed Species in Ontario

Milkweed plants grow to be about 1 - 2 m tall from a rhizome.  Leaf size depends upon the Milkweed type.

 

Asclepias syriaca 

Asclepias syriaca is known as the "Common Milkweed, Butterfly Flower, Silkweed, Silky, Swallow-wort" and "Virginia Silkweed".  It has dense round flowers (umbels) at the tip of its stem and axils of upper leaves.  Flowers appear greenish, purple or white.  The seed pods are green and fleshy and are covered with soft warty protrusions.  You can find the Common Milkweed growing in pastures, meadows, roadsides and waste places.

 

Common milkweed plant

Common Milkweed - 1

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Milkweed plant

Common Milkweed - 2

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Asclepias syriacaCommon Milkweed

Common Milkweed - 3

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Asclepias syriaca Common Milkweed

Common Milkweed - 4

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Drop of white latex milk from Milkweed plant.

Common Milkweed - 5

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All parts of the Milkweed plant produce a white latex when broken.  

 

White latex milk Milkweed plant.

Common Milkweed - 6

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Droplet of white latex milk Common Milkweed plant.

Common Milkweed - 7

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Pink Common Milkweed umbels.

Common Milkweed - 8

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Flowers are grouped in spherical "umbels".  Individual flowers are 1-2 cm in diameter with five cornate hoods.

 

Pink flower blooms of Common Milkweed.

Common Milkweed - 9

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Common Milkweed plant pink flowers.

Common Milkweed - 10

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Flower bloom of Common Milkweed plant.

Common Milkweed - 11

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Milkweed Plant Image Pages    [1]    [2]    [3]

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The Earth
Laughs in Flowers


~ Ralph Waldo 
Emerson ~

 

 

"We can complain 
because rose bushes 
have thorns, 
or rejoice because 
thorn bushes 
have roses."

~ Abraham Lincoln ~

 

 

"I wonder if
the Daffodil,
shrinks from the
touch of frost,
And when her veins
grow stiff & still,
She dreams
that life is lost?
Ah, if she does,
how sweet a thing
Her resurrection
day in spring!

~ Emma C. Dowd ~

 

 

"Bred feeds the body, indeed, but flowers 
feed also the soul."

~ The Koran ~

 


"If seeds in the 
black earth 
can turn into 
such beautiful roses, 
what might not 
the heart of man 
become in its 
long journey 
toward the stars?"

~ G.K. Chesterton ~

 


 

"I'd rather have
roses on my table
than  diamonds
around my neck."
~ Emma Goldman ~

 

 

 

"Where flowers bloom
so does hope."

~ Lady Bird Johnson ~

 

 

 

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