Swamp Milkweed or Silkplant

Asclepias incarnata

Swamp milkweed
Swamp milkweed

Pretty enough for any garden, the deep pink blossoms of this summer milkweed beg you to stop and smell the flowers! Dozens of individual blooms are borne on stout umbels at the top of a 2-5 ft. tall plant. Look closely to see the five, up-turned petals on each flower. Sweet! The leaves (see photo below) are opposite, entire, lanceolate, and 3-6 inches long.

The flowers will give way to large seed pods bursting with silky seeds (another name for it is “Silkplant”). When fully dry, the seeds become airborne by virtue of their silky parachutes. American Indians used this same silk to make thread.

I’m somewhat disappointed by the common name of this lovely flower, but it does well to describe the plant’s habitat. Look for swamp milkweed growing in moist fields or in open, marshy areas; bloom time is June through August.

I found these plants growing along the Gateway Trail in Blacksburg.

Compare this pink-flowering milkweed to Common Milkweed.

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