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

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Highway 145 north of Dolores, July 22, 2004.

Broad, long, and widely spaced leaves ascend a tall and sturdy flower stalk topped by a huge, showy cluster of pink/white flowers. These Milkweeds are common along roadsides and in fields. The tan, three inch long seed pod containing silky hairs around the seeds is a common toy for kids and was used in the past as pillow filling.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753.  John Torrey named the species from a specimen collected by Edwin James in 1820 "on the Canadian [River]".  (Quotation from Intermountain Flora.)  "Asclepias" was a legendary Greek physician and the Greek god of medicine and "speciosa" is Latin for "showy" or "beautiful".

Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Highway 145 north of Dolores, July 22, 2004.

Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Highway 145 north of Dolores, July 22, 2004.

Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family)
formerly Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Foothills. Moist roadsides, fields. Summer.
Near Dolores River, September 19, 2006.

Gray Milkweed seed pods split in the fall and in a few days silken plumes will carry brown seeds on stormy winds.

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 speciosa  

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