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Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) yellow and pink forms?

Posted by mattdiclemente z7 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 10, 11 at 4:22

This afternoon, at my sister's home I spotted a monarch catepillar on a common milkweed bush (Asclepias syriaca).
I encouraged my sister to smell the flowers, instructing her that they were very fragrant. She is expecting, and once smelling it, did not care for the fragrance at all. I attributed this to her heightened sense of smell. When I looked at the flower though, I noticed that the flowers were yellow, rather than the typical dusty rose. When I brought my nose to them, I realized why she might not have liked them. Rather than the typical, delicious sweet vanilla floral scent of Milkweed's pom-pom like flower clusters, there was a strong warm fragrance - very much in the way of Tulbahgia fragrans by night, or the Korean rose on a warm day. This surpsised me greatly, although nothing about the foliage or habit of the plant indicated it was anything other than A. syriaca, the common milkweed bush.

What could this plant be? I enjoy the fragrance and fully intend to bring some home. I will also try to put up some pictures.

I am familiar with swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), purple milkweed (A. purpurea) and of course both yellow and orange forms of (A. tuberosa) the butterfly weed, short and bushy. Our mystery plant with yellow flowers of powerful fragrance is none of these though.

Does anyone have a clue? Have you come across this plant as well?

Thank-you, and best wishes,
Matt Di Clemente

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) yellow and pink forms?

Here is a website that might give you clue as to what plant you are trying to identify.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monarch Watch

RE: Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) yellow and pink forms?

Thank-you for your very kind reply.
What an interesting site!
I like all the milkweeds there.

I couldn't determine that any of those were the plant I was looking to identify though.
The unusualy fragrant milkweed I met last week looks like Broadleaf Milkweed (Asclepias latifolia), but New Jersey doesn't seem to be part of its range.

I would be interested in learing any more information on the very interesting topic of native milkweeds.

Best wishes,
Matt Di Clemente

RE: Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) yellow and pink forms?

Are these store-bought plants? Seed-grown plants? Plants found in a "wild area" on her property? There are "140 known species of Asclepias. I don't know enough about the genetics of Asclepias to know if varieties can cross-pollenate, but if they can, there's something else to consider.

RE: Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) yellow and pink forms?

One of the most beautiful milkweeds that I have seen is the tall green milkweed (aslepias hirtella).

This beauty was in a wet prairie along the WI River in Avoca WI:
Tall Green Milkweed

I have lots of aslepias syrica growing in my yard and a couple weeks ago the scent was so strong, it filled the yard and was lovely. And the bumbles and butterflies were bustling about.

One of the universities around here was doing pilot studies growing milkweed as an agricultural crop to use the fluff in various commercial applications. I went to a presentation on it a few years ago. One of the interesting things about the agricultural application is the limiting factor on them was pollinators. They would have to limit the field size because there wouldn't be enough pollinators for an entire 40 acre field.

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