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Asclepias rubra - L.

Common Name Red Silkweed
Family Asclepiadaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides[274]. They are usually avoided by grazing animals[274].
Habitats Moist soils[235].
Range Eastern N. America - New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Florida, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Asclepias rubra Red Silkweed


Larry Allain @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Asclepias rubra Red Silkweed
Jim Stasz @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Asclepias rubra is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, insects, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Gum  Sweetener

Flower buds - cooked as potherbs or added to soups[207]. Young shoots and leaves - cooked as potherbs or added to soups[207]. Young seed pods, 3 - 4 cm long, cooked[207]. Flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup[207]. A chewing gum can be made from the latex contained in the stem and leaves, but it is possibly toxic[207].

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.
Warts

The latex is used as a cure for warts[168].

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Other Uses

Fibre  Gum  Latex  Stuffing

The following reports refer to other members of this genus and are possibly also appropriate for this species[K]. A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark, used in making twine, cloth, paper etc[95, 112, 169]. It is of poor quality in wet seasons[112]. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems[169]. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth[112, 159, 169, 171]. It is a Kapok substitute, used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material[112]. Very water repellent, it can yield up to 550 kilos per hectare[112]. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Candlewicks can be made from the seed floss[112, 207]. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems[46, 57, 102, 159]. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost[112]. Yields are higher on dry soils[112]. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance. The seed contains up to 20% of an edible semi-drying oil[74, 112]. It is also used in making liquid soap[74].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil and a sunny position[1, 134, 200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is closely related to A. lanceolata[200]. Many members of this genus seem to be particularly prone to damage by slugs. The young growth in spring is especially vulnerable, but older growth is also attacked and even well-established plants have been destroyed in wet years[K]. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small[134]. The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant[207].

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter[134, 169]. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring[K], though stored seed might need 2 - 3 weeks cold stratification[134]. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 3 months at 18°c[134]. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established.. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Asclepias asperulaAntelope Horns, Spider milkweed, Trailing MilkweedPerennial1.0 7-9 MLMSNDM21 
Asclepias brachystephanaBract milkweedPerennial0.3 0-0  LSNDM00 
Asclepias californicaCalifornia Milkweed, Greene's milkweedPerennial0.5 0-0  LSNDM21 
Asclepias currasavicaBlood FlowerPerennial2.0 10-12 FLMHNM012
Asclepias decumbens Perennial0.9 -  LSNDM20 
Asclepias eriocarpaWoollypod MilkweedPerennial0.9 7-10  LSNDM22 
Asclepias erosaDesert MilkweedPerennial0.8 0-0  LNDM200
Asclepias galioidesBedstraw MilkweedPerennial0.4 -  LSNDM21 
Asclepias halliiPurple Silkweed, Hall's milkweedPerennial1.0 3-7  LMSNDM31 
Asclepias incarnataSwamp Milkweed, Swamp Butterfly Weed, Marsh MilkweedPerennial1.2 3-8 MLMSNDMWe323
Asclepias involucrataDwarf MilkweedPerennial0.0 -  LSNDM21 
Asclepias lanceolataPurple Silkweed, Fewflower milkweedPerennial1.2 4-8  LMSNDM21 
Asclepias latifoliaBroadleaf MilkweedPerennial0.8 -  LSNDM01 
Asclepias mexicana Perennial0.8 5-9  LSNDM10 
Asclepias ovalifoliaOval-leaf milkweedPerennial0.6 5-9  LMSNDM20 
Asclepias pumilaLow Milkweed, Plains milkweedPerennial0.4 5-9  LMSNDM21 
Asclepias purpurascensPurple MilkweedPerennial0.8 -  LMSNDM21 
Asclepias quadrifoliaFourleaf MilkweedPerennial0.5 4-8  LMSNDM22 
Asclepias speciosaShowy MilkweedPerennial0.8 3-9  LMSNDM323
Asclepias subulataRush MilkweedPerennial2.0 5-9  LSNDM010
Asclepias sullivantiiPrairie milkweedPerennial1.2 0-0  LSNDM00 
Asclepias syriacaCommon Milkweed, Silkweed, MilkweedPerennial1.0 3-8 MLMSNDM323
Asclepias tuberosaPleurisy Root, Butterfly milkweed, Rolfs' milkweed, Indian PaintbrushPerennial0.8 3-9 MLMSNDM330
Asclepias viridifloraGreen Milkweed, Green comet milkweedPerennial1.0 0-0  LMSNDM32 

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200235

Links / References

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Readers comment

Michelle   Tue Oct 15 02:37:46 2002

Does anyone know where I can aquire this milkweed as either plant or seed?

Wolf   Wed Mar 5 06:08:11 2003

I have been looking for Red Milkweed(Asclepias rubra)seeds for a long time,and also looking for Slim Milkweed(Asclepias linearis)and Four-Leaved Milkweed(Asclepias quadrifolia)seeds. Does any one have any?

Nancy   Thu Sep 7 2006

I have Red Milkweed. So I have seeds from it. Nancy petlover@discover-net.net

Danny   Mon Jan 19 2009

I am also looking for this plant. (seeds)

Danny   Mon Jan 19 2009

Nancy I tried to e-mail you. Did you get the e-mail? Do you have seeds of Asclepias Rubra? I am looking for this one. Thank-you, Danny

Danny   Mon Jan 19 2009

I am looking for this plant. Nancy do you still have seeds?

Danny   Sat Jan 24 2009

I want Asclepias Rubra seeds if you have some.

John Brandauer   Sat Nov 14 2009

I have Asclepias rubra seed, not much, first year growing here, but could give you a pod. Contact me through www.weedsforwildlife.com

Monarch on the Red Milkweed (Asclepias rubra)

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