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Useful Temperate Plants

Asclepias rubra

L.

Apocynaceae

+ Synonyms

Asclepias acuminata Pursh

Asclepias cordata Walter

Asclepias lancifolia Steud.

Asclepias laurifolia Michx.

Asclepias periplocifolia Nutt.

Asclepias polystachya Walter

Common Name: Red Silkweed

No Image.

General Information

Asclepias rubra is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of slender, unbranched stems 40 -150cm tall from a usually tuberous rootstock[
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.
,
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

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.
,
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
,
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

Eastern N. America - New York to Florida, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas.

Habitat

Moist soils[
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
]. Bogs, marshes, wet meadows, and low pine barrens[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *
HabitPerennial
Height1.20 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects, Lepidoptera
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil and 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]).
,
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.
,
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.
].
A very ornamental plant[
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]).
], it is closely related to Asclepiad lanceolata[
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.
].
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

Flower buds - cooked as potherbs or added to soups[
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.
].

Young shoots and leaves - cooked as potherbs or added to soups[
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.
].
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.
].

Young seed pods, 3 - 4 cm long, cooked[
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.
].

Flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup[
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.
].

A chewing gum can be made from the latex contained in the stem and leaves, but it is possibly toxic[
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.
].

Medicinal

The latex is used as a cure for warts[
168
Title
Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Grae. I.
Publisher
MacMillan Publishing Co. New York.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-02-544950-8
Description
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
].

Other Uses

The following reports refer to other members of this genus and are possibly also appropriate for this species[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark, used in making twine, cloth, paper etc[
95
Title
Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada.
Publication
 
Author
Saunders. C. F.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1976
ISBN
0-486-23310-3
Description
Useful wild plants of America. A pocket guide.
,
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
,
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.
]. It is of poor quality in wet seasons[
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
]. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems[
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.
].

The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth[
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
,
159
Title
Wild Food Plants of Indiana.
Publication
 
Author
McPherson. A. and S.
Publisher
Indiana University Press
Year
1977
ISBN
0-253-28925-4
Description
A nice pocket guide to this region of America.
,
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.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
]. It is a Kapok substitute, used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material[
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
]. Very water repellent, it can yield up to 550 kilos per hectare[
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
]. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Candlewicks can be made from the seed floss[
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
,
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.
].

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.
,
57
Title
Plants for Man.
Publication
 
Author
Schery. R. W.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
,
102
Title
Native Harvests.
Publication
 
Author
Kavasch. B.
Publisher
Vintage Books
Year
1979
ISBN
0-394-72811-4
Description
Another guide to the wild foods of America.
,
159
Title
Wild Food Plants of Indiana.
Publication
 
Author
McPherson. A. and S.
Publisher
Indiana University Press
Year
1977
ISBN
0-253-28925-4
Description
A nice pocket guide to this region of America.
]. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost[
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
]. Yields are higher on dry soils[
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
].

Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance.

The seed contains up to 20% of an edible semi-drying oil[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
112
Title
A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization.
Publication
USDA Bibliographical Bulletin No. 2
Author
Whiting. A. G.
Publisher
USDA; Washington
Year
1943
ISBN
 
Description
A technical paper covering the many uses of the genus Asclepias.
]. It is also used in making liquid soap[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

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. 2018-09-21. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Asclepias+rubra>

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