Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Rose Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Also called Swamp Milkweed because of its preference for damp areas, but this is an adaptable plant, and this little colony was growing in a patch of sunlight along a hillside woodland path in Scott Township. It is sometimes cultivated in gardens for its showy rose-colored flowers, which grow up on top where you can see them, rather than half-hidden like the flowers of Common Milkweed. The plant was blooming in early July.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

ASCLEPIAS [Tourn.] L. MILKWEED. SILKWEED
Calyx persistent; divisions small, reflexed. Corolla deeply 5-parted; divisions valvate in bud, deciduous. Crown of 5 hooded bodies seated on the tube of stamens, each containing an incurved horn. Stamens 5, inserted on the base of the corolla; filaments united into a tube which incloses the pistil; anthers adherent to the stigma, each with 2 vertical cells, tipped with a membranaeeons appendage, each cell containing a flattened pear-shaped and waxy pollen-mass; the two contiguous pollen-masses of adjacent anthers, forming pairs which hang by a slender prolongation of their summits from 5 cloven glands tbat grow on the angles of the stigma (extricated from the cells by insects, and directing copious pollen-tubes into the point where the stigma joins the apex of the style). Ovaries 2, tapering into very short styles; the large depressed 5-angled fleshy stigmatic disk common to the two. Follicles 2, one of them often abortive, soft, ovoid or lanceolate. Seeds anatropous, flat, margined, bearing a tuft of long silky hairs (coma) at the hilum, downwardly imbricated all over the large placenta, which separates from the suture at maturity. Embryo large, with broad foliaceous cotyledons in thin albumen. —Perennial herbs; peduncles terminal or lateral and between the usually opposite petioles, bearing simple many-flowered umbels, in summer. (The Greek name of Aesculapius, to whom the genus is dedicated.)

A. incarnata L. (SWAMP M.) Smooth or nearly so ; the stem 5-10 dm. high, very leafy, with two downy lines above and on the branches of the peduncles; leaves oblong-lanceolate, acute, or pointed, obtuse, obscurely heart-shaped or narrowed at base; flowers rose-purple (rarely whitish); hoods scarcely equaling the slender needle-pointed horn. —Swamps, N. B., westw. and south w. July, Aug.
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One response

  1. Mike

    i ended up and got one of these to when i got one of the butterfly weed flowers and they do have fat long tap roots and both of them where hard to dig up but i got them and all of the roots i plan on spreading the seeds when they grow on the plants. but even the small rose milkweed plants are hard to dig up using a spade

    June 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm

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