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See also Asclepias macrosperma and Asclepias tuberosa and Asclepias speciosa.
Asclepias asperula 
Asclepias asperula (Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane) formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings, washes. Spring.
Canyonlands National Park, Confluence Trail, May 20, 2004.

This Milkweed, one of about a dozen species in our area and 120 species in the Western Hemisphere, is found in Pinyon-Juniper forests in sandy washes and gravelly and rocky scattered openings and in open Ponderosa woods.  In Canyonlands National Park it is almost always found just a few inches up the bank from sandy wash bottoms.  Its airy open network of narrow leaves topped by a very large spherical flower cluster make it easy to identify -- even from a distance.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753.  "Asclepias" was a legendary Greek physician and the Greek god of medicine; "asperula" is Latin for 'rough".

Asclepias asperula 
Asclepias asperula (Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings, washes. Spring.
Canyonlands National Park, Confluence Trail, May 20, 2004.

Asclepias asperula 
Asclepias asperula (Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings, washes. Spring.
Canyonlands National Park, Confluence Trail, May 20, 2004.

Asclepias asperula
Asclepias asperula (Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings, washes. Spring.
Canyonlands National Park, Confluence Trail, May 20, 2004.

The structure of Milkweed plants is unusual and there are a host of special terms for their unique parts.  Click here for the excellent, ultimate Milkweed web page.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Asclepias asperula