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Useful Temperate Plants

Asclepias involucrata

Engelm. ex Torr.

Apocynaceae

+ Synonyms

Asclepias macrosperma Eastw. ex Vail

Common Name: Dwarf Milkweed

Asclepias involucrata
Flowering stem
Photograph by: Robert Sivinski; CalPhotos
Creative Commons License

General Information

Asclepias involucrata is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of rather slender, much-branched stems 3 - 25cm tall from a woody rootstalk[
908
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 41
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
1954
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical publication, it contains an article on the genus Tachigali. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Like most, if not all Asclepias species, the plants are likely to have been utilized for foods and other materials by the native North American tribes. See Asclepias syriaca for some idea of these potential uses[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Known Hazards

Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. They are only toxic if eaten in large quantities, causing vomiting, stupor, weakness and spasma[
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
,
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].
The plants are usually avoided by grazing animals[
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
].

Botanical References

908
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 41
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
1954
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical publication, it contains an article on the genus Tachigali. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

South-western N. America - Arizona and Colorado to Kansas, south to northern Mexico, New Mexico and Texas

Habitat

Dry gravelly hills, flats, chaparral, and arroyos[
908
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 41
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
1954
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical publication, it contains an article on the genus Tachigali. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Dry plains and mesas, occasionally with pine, at elevations from 1,000 - 2,000 metres in Arizona.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.20 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects, Lepidoptera
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil in a sunny position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Succeeds on poor or dry soils and on all soil types.
Many members of this genus seem to be particularly prone to damage by slugs. The young growth in spring is especially vulnerable, but older growth is also attacked and even well-established plants have been destroyed in wet years[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
].
The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells - the struggles of the insect in escaping (especially bees and wasps) pulls with it the pollinium (sacs of pollen) which are then transported to the next flower and deposited there, ensuring pollination of the flower[
207
Title
The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers.
Publication
 
Author
Coffey. T.
Publisher
Facts on File.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-8160-2624-6
Description
A nice read, lots of information on plant uses.
,
908
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 41
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
1954
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical publication, it contains an article on the genus Tachigali. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

A gum from the latex can be used for chewing[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
].

Young shoots - cooked[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. Used as an asparagus substitute.
One recipe suggests you parboil the leaves or young shoots for three minutes, then discard the bitter water and replace with clean boiling water. (Cold water tends to fix the bitterness.) You can repeat this process p to three times to fully leach any bitterness (and many of the nutrients[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]), then cook the leaves for 15 minutes before seasoning them. A pinch of soda can be added during cooking to break down the fibe and improve flavour[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].

Medicinal

An infusion of the plant is used as a stomach medicine[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

A poultice made from the heated roots is used as a toothache remedy[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
,
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
]. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
], though stored seed might need 2 - 3 weeks cold stratification[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 3 months at 18°c[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly.
Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established..
Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-08-17. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Asclepias+involucrata>

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