Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Asclepiadaceae or Milkweed Family
(many botanists now lump this family in the Apocynaceae or Dogbane Family) 

Plant in habitat

Herb to about 4 feet tall with opposite, long, narrow leaves.  Bleeds white sap from any broken or bruised part.  Flowers have 5 downward-sweeping pink to red petals, and a crown formed of 5 fused stamens, each with a hood.  The crown is a paler pink and surrounds the white stigma.  Blooms in midsummer.  Fruit is a pod that splits open in the fall to release seeds with little tufts of down that are carried away by the wind.  Empty pods persist into winter.

Likes swamps and other wet areas.  Common in the swamp along Wildwood Drive north of the Grand Staircase.

The bizarre flower shape is distinctive of the genus Asclepias, the milkweeds.  The bright pink to red petals and the preference for wet areas identify this species.  Other milkweeds in Wildwood prefer drier areas and have flowers that are green, orange, white or purple.

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Plant in flower


Plant in fruit

Fruits in winter

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