milkweed


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milkweed,

common name for members of the Asclepiadaceae, a family of mostly perennial herbs and shrubs characterized by milky sap, a tuft of silky hairs attached to the seed (for wind distribution), and (usually) a climbing habit. Forms of this primarily tropical family are especially abundant in South America and in Africa, where many are succulents. Only a few genera are temperate; those species native to the United States are mostly of the genus Asclepias, the milkweeds, or silkweeds. The common milkweed, a plentiful roadside and field plant of the eastern and central states, is A. syriaca. A number of western species are poisonous to livestock, especially sheep. The milkweeds have been utilized as food (particularly the young shoots and buds), masticatory, medicament, and fiber. Some species yield an excellent bast fiber, like flax, but are difficult to cultivate and refine. The readily obtainable seed hairs from wild plants were sometimes used as a rather inferior substitute for kapok. Several species have been examined as potential sources of natural rubber; Palay rubber comes from a species of Crypostegia native to Madagascar. Among the milkweeds grown as ornamentals, the showy-blossomed butterfly weed or pleurisy root (A. tuberosa), native to the United States, was eaten by the Native Americans for lung and throat ailments. Hoya is an Old World genus that includes the wax plant (H. carnosa), a tropical climbing shrub cultivated as a pot plant for its fleshy leaves and fragrant waxy flowers. The milkweed family is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Gentianales.
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milkweed

milkweed

CAREFUL Pink-purple flowers in clusters that sometimes droop.When it comes up in the springtime, you can use the young shoots and leaves just like asparagus. The white sap in the stem is a bitter latex that can be applied to warts, moles, ringworm, skin cancer and poison ivy rash. Young shoots, leaves and small young pods can be used as a vegetable (not the bigger older ones with all the fluffy stuff inside) if boiled and water replaced. Get rid of white latex by putting in water. Not poisonous in low doses, but the white sap latex is better used externally. Only eat the pods when young and seeds are white. The seeds become poisonous when they mature and start turning brown. Cooking makes milkweed safer to eat. Root tea used for kidney stones, asthma and expectorant to clear mucus. Know what you are doingsome milkweeds are poisonous. If not totally sure, don’t consume.

Milkweed

 

swallowwort (Asclepias), a genus of mainly herbaceous plants of the family Asclepiadaceae. There are over 100 species in America and several in Africa. The best known is the Syrian milkweed, or Aescupapius’ herb (A. syriaca), a perennial native to America. It is cultivated and readily becomes wild. In the USSR the milkweed that has grown wild is found in the Baltic areas, Byelorussia, the Ukraine, and the Caucasus.

Milkweed is a tall plant (up to 2 m) with compact, for the most part elongated-elliptical, leaves. Its lilac reddish, small, fragrant flowers are gathered into umbellate inflorescences. Fruit grows in the form of follicles. White, silky floss on the seeds facilitates their distribution by wind. The milky sap contains tar and rubber components; the seeds contain more than 20 percent semisiccative oils, suitable for technical purposes. A sturdy fiber is obtained from the stalk for manufacture of coarse fabrics and ropes. Syrian milkweed is a drought-resistant, nectariferous plant, unfastidious in cultivation. This species and other species of milkweed are sometimes grown as decorative plants.

M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV

milkweed

[′milk‚wēd]
(botany)
Any of several latex-secreting plants of the genus Asclepias in the family Asclepiadaceae.
References in periodicals archive ?
As Vance explained, milkweed is critical for monarchs.
Plant native milkweed on your own land and encourage your local school or town park to do the same.
Slager added that books will be bought by the bookstore's buyers in the conventional way, as well as on consignment, so that Milkweed Editions' revenues won't be tied up in keeping the bookstore stocked.
for mass plantings of milkweed, a movement joined by the Obama administration in launching a plan last spring to increase the number of pollinators and monarchs by seeding habitat along the flyway between Texas and Minnesota.
Milkweed ramets were surveyed every 4-8 d from Jul.
Louis-based agribusiness giant Monsanto's popular weed killer Roundup, blamed for knocking out the milkweed plants.
According to environmentalists and conservationists, the low numbers of both milkweeds and monarchs are telltale, not coincidental.
Common milkweed is native to much of eastern North America, including Canada, but Monark isn't sourced from a wild-growing supply; it relies on a cooperative of local farms.
There are more than 100 different species of milkweed in North America, but these days, due to habitat loss and the widespread use of herbicides, there is a scarcity of Asclepia plants.
Milkweeds and oaks, plants that caterpillars graze on, collected from alongside a country road carried higher sodium concentrations than the same species growing at least 100 meters from the splash and drift of deicing salt, says Emilie Snell-Rood of the University of Minnesota in St.
Some scientists suspect the largest contributor to the milkweed die-off is the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup brand, among other products).
The poisonous milkweed plant which is the monarch's lifeline is being wiped out by farmers who are planting genetically modified corn in areas where milkweed previously thrived.