Swamp MilkweedAsclepias incarnata L.
Swamp Milkweed is named for its milky white sap and high moisture requirements. It is a fragrant plant, and toxic when consumed in large doses. Plants have been used by Indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes, and its stem fibres were used for making rope and textiles. The fluffy seed hairs drift on the wind and float on water. These seeds were used during WWII for stuffing in pillows and lifejackets.
Canadian Rarity Status:
Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” on Prince Edward Island.
This perennial grows between 30 and 150 cm tall, with stems occasionally branching. The leaves are opposite, and lance-shaped with smooth edges. Flowers occur in clusters of 10-40 on stem-tops. Each flower has five drooping pink petals, partially joined at their base. Between these and the stamens are five light pink, hooded arches, each with a curved horn. In the fall, seeds with tufts of hair are released from tear-shaped fruits and distributed by the wind.
Seeds and/or plants are typically available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Swamp Milkweed can be grown from seed or by dividing already established plants.
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Tall Grass Prairie
- Full Sun
- Part Shade
- Blister Beetles (Meloidae)
- Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
- Bumble, Honey, and other Bees (Apidae (Subfamily Apinae))
- Crabronid Wasps (Crabronidae)
- Gossamer-winged Butterflies (Lycaenidae)
- Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
- Leafcutter and Mason Bees (Megachilidae)
- Milkweed Butterflies (Nymphalidae (Subfamily Danaiinae))
- Parasitic Flies (Tachinidae)
- Skippers (Hesperiidae)
- Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)
- Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae)
- Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilionidae)
- Sweat Bees, Halictid Bees and other Bees (Halictidae)
- Thick-headed Flies (Conopidae)
- Whites, Sulfurs, Orangtips, Marbles (Pieridae)
- Yellow-faced Bees (Colletidae)
- Yellowjacket, Potter, and other Wasps (Vespidae)