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Asclepias currasavica - L.

Common Name Blood Flower
Family Apocynaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The root contains a glycoside, asclepiadin, which is emetic and purgative - in large doses it can cause death[332 ]. The plant is suspected to be poisonous to grazing animals[332 ].
Habitats Occurs most frequently in pastures, wastelands and along roadsides at elevations from sea level to over 1,500 metres[305 ].
Range Tropical S. America, but widely naturalized in many areas of the Tropics.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Asclepias currasavica Blood Flower


© Derek Ramsey / derekramsey.com
Asclepias currasavica Blood Flower
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Summary

Native to the American tropics. Grown as an ornamental garden plant and as a source of food for butterflies. Incorrect spelling in the database - should be Asclepias curassavica


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Asclepias currasavica is an evergreen Perennial growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Wasps, Bees, Butterflies. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Asclepias aurantiaca Salisb. Asclepias bicolor Moench Asclepias cubensis Wender. Asclepias margaritacea Hoffmanns. ex Schult. Asclepias nivea curassavica (L.) Kuntze. Asclepias curassavica (correct name)

Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Dysentery

The latex of the plant as well as the roots, leaves, and flowers are used medicinally[317 ]. The root is febrifuge. A decoction is used in the treatment of dysentery and as an eyewash for infected eyes[348 ]. The root contains a glycoside, asclepiadin, which is used as an emetic and purgative[332 , 348 ]. It has been used as a substitute for ipecacuanha[332 ]. A paste made of the crushed leaves, combined with salt, vegetable oil and bread, is used for treating skin ulcers[348 ]. The plant contains an abundant white latex which is applied to warts and corns in order to kill them[332 ]. The juice of the whole plant is used to treat ringworm, sores, rashes, dermatitis etc[348 ]. The plant is considered cicatrizant (healing cuts etc by encouraging the formation of scars)[332 ]. The aerial parts of plant are sometimes used in the treatment of dysentery and as an eyewash for infected eyes[348 ]. The root contains cardenolides with aglycones such as asclepogenine and curassavogenine[348 ]. The latex contains cardenolides and esterified triterpenes. Extracts stimulate the central nervous system[348 ]. The latex also contains quercetin, caffeic acid, sterols, flavonoids, carbohydrates, fatty acids and acidic mucilage[348 ]. The plant contains beta-sitosterol, which is antihypercholesterolemic (reduces cholesterol), anti-prostatic, and oestrogenic[348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

The stem fibres are used for spinning, partly in mixture with cotton[317 , 332 ]. The seed hairs are used as a stuffing material for pillows[317 , 332 ]. This is too elastic for spinning unless altered by chemical treatment after which it can be spun admixed with cotton[332 ]. The stems are used, tied in bundles, as brooms[332 ]. The dogbane-milkweed family Asclepias, Apocynum, Calotropis, and Trachomitum spp) has been used for fiber industrial crops for millennia with a number in cultivation as regional crops. All of these crops are dual-purpose fibres, offering bast fibres from the stem and seed finer or ‘floss’ in the fruit pods. Many have also been identified as potential hydrocarbon crops due to high latex content. Could be integrated into various agroforestry systems rather than as monocultures [1-1].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Hay  Regional Crop

Succeeds in a range of climates from warm temperate to tropical. Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position[200 ]. Succeeds on a wide range of soils[305 ]. The plant has very light, plumed seeds that can be carried considerable distances in the wind. It has often escaped from cultivation and has become a weed throughout the tropics[200 , 305 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, rubber, biomass products gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, butane, propane, biogas. Plants are usually resprouting plants and saps.
  • Management: Hay  Cut to the ground and harvested annually. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Propagation

Seed - surface sow and make sure the seeds are kept moist[200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Tropical milkweed, bloodflower, blood flower, cotton bush, hierba de la cucaracha, Mexican butterfly weed, redhead,scarlet milkweed,and wild ipecacuanha.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Ranging from southern North America through Central America and into South America. An introduced species in the US states of California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas, the US unincorporated territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Introduced and naturalized in the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Qinghai, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan, and Zhejiang, as well as in Taiwan.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

It has often escaped from cultivation and has become a weed throughout the tropics

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Asclepias asperulaAntelope Horns, Spider milkweed, Trailing MilkweedPerennial1.0 7-9 MLMSNDM213
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Asclepias californicaCalifornia Milkweed, Greene's milkweedPerennial0.5 0-0  LSNDM212
Asclepias decumbens Perennial0.9 -  LSNDM202
Asclepias eriocarpaWoollypod MilkweedPerennial0.9 7-10  LSNDM223
Asclepias erosaDesert MilkweedPerennial0.8 0-0  LNDM203
Asclepias galioidesBedstraw MilkweedPerennial0.4 -  LSNDM212
Asclepias halliiPurple Silkweed, Hall's milkweedPerennial1.0 3-7  LMSNDM313
Asclepias incarnataSwamp Milkweed, Swamp Butterfly Weed, Marsh MilkweedPerennial1.2 3-8 MLMSNDMWe323
Asclepias involucrataDwarf MilkweedPerennial0.0 -  LSNDM212
Asclepias lanceolataPurple Silkweed, Fewflower milkweedPerennial1.2 4-8  LMSNDM213
Asclepias latifoliaBroadleaf MilkweedPerennial0.8 -  LSNDM012
Asclepias mexicana Perennial0.8 5-9  LSNDM102
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Asclepias pumilaLow Milkweed, Plains milkweedPerennial0.4 5-9  LMSNDM213
Asclepias purpurascensPurple MilkweedPerennial0.8 -  LMSNDM213
Asclepias quadrifoliaFourleaf MilkweedPerennial0.5 4-8  LMSNDM223
Asclepias rubraRed SilkweedPerennial1.2 4-8  LMSNDM313
Asclepias speciosaShowy MilkweedPerennial0.8 3-9  LMSNDM323
Asclepias subulataRush MilkweedPerennial2.0 5-9  LSNDM013
Asclepias sullivantiiPrairie milkweedPerennial1.2 0-0  LSNDM003
Asclepias syriacaCommon Milkweed, Silkweed, MilkweedPerennial1.0 3-8 MLMSNDM323
Asclepias tuberosaPleurisy Root, Butterfly milkweed, Rolfs' milkweed, Indian PaintbrushPerennial0.8 3-9 MLMSNDM334
Asclepias viridifloraGreen Milkweed, Green comet milkweedPerennial1.0 0-0  LMSNDM323

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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