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 ?
In addition to at least two species of milkweed (the only host plant monarch larvae eat), a Waystation should include four or more nectar-producing flowers that bloom at different times, such as purple coneflower, goldenrod and floss flower.
Unfortunately, milkweed plants are disappearing for a number of reasons.
To compare the density of milkweeds in the two fields before monitoring began, on Jul.
There's no need to worry about the monarch caterpillars attacking your prize plants, because monarch larvae feed only on milkweeds.
At a sodium dosage of about 3,000 parts per million, higher than average for roadside milkweeds, male cabbage whites matured into butterflies with about 11 percent more thoracic protein (indicating more muscle) than their counterparts raised at the low end of wild sodium concentrations, about 400 ppm.
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).
They explain that prior to the use of herbicides, weed control involved tillage which some milkweed was able to withstand.
The study found that one of the major factors leading to greater milkweed biomass (or growth) is the production of volatile compounds called sesquiterpenes, which attract such predators as aphid-eating ladybugs.
They sound innocent enough--called "pale swallow-wort" and "black swallow-wort," and both are members of the milkweed family.
Common and showy milkweeds are probably seen more often in the wild but they have wide spreading aggressive roots and are on the provincial weed list.