Wasatch Wildflowers: Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)

WASATCH MOUNTAINS, Utah. Showy Milkweed is a perennial herb native to Utah. It’s an essential plant for monarch butterflies, who lay their eggs on its leaves. Historically indigenous peoples use the sturdy stem fibers to make ropes.

The five-petaled star-shaped pink or magenta flowers grow in clusters that create an umbrella shape. The 4 and 8 inches long oblong shaped leaves grow opposite each other. The plant can grow up to 3 feet tall. After the plant flowers, it creates seeds in large velvet pods covered in soft spines.

Look for showy milkweed in dry, gravelly soils, often on roadsides. It blooms late spring through summer between 2700 and 8400 feet.

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) Pods – photo: Ashley Brown

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