Asclepias exaltata L.
Asclepias bicknellii Vail
Asclepias phytolaccoides Pursh
Poke Milkweed, Tall Milkweed
Poke milkweed is a North American native plant.
Identification: Plants are 24-72" (60-182 cm) in height, with one to three stems per plant. Stems are often dark greenish purple. Leaves are opposite, narrow, elliptic, with petioles (stems) 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long. They have smooth tops and fuzzy undersides, and are 3-8" (7.6-20 cm) × 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm). Leaf veins often have a tinge of purple. Flowers are white, about ⅜" (9.5 mm) around, with tinges of green or lavender colors, appearing as umbels that hang downward on greenish or purplish stems. Each umbel has about ten flowers, and each stem has one to six umbels. They appear from July to August. Seed pods are 4-6" (10-15 cm) long, and narrower than those of common milkweed.
See J. S. Pippen’s site at Duke University for a milkweed comparison chart.
Edibility: Mildly toxic in large quantities, due to the presence of cardiac glycosides.
Asclepias exaltata at Illinois Wildflowers
Asclepias exaltata on monarchwatch.org
Asclepias exaltata at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Asclepias exaltata on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site
Asclepias exaltata at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
Asclepias exaltata on Discover Life
Asclepias exaltata at Minnesota Wildflowers
Asclepias exaltata on Ontario Wildflowers
Asclepias exaltata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.