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Useful Temperate Plants

Asclepias subulata

Decne.

Apocynaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Rush Milkweed

Asclepias subulata
Plant growing in Dead Mountains, near junction of Needles Highway and River Road, southern California, USA
Photograph by: Stan Shebs
Creative Commons License
Asclepias subulata Asclepias subulata Asclepias subulata Asclepias subulata Asclepias subulata

General Information

Asclepias subulata is an erect shrub with both unbranched and branched stems; it can grow up to 2 metres tall. Adapted to very dry environments, the stems are leafless except when very young - the stems are green, however, and carry out the process of photosynthesis[
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.
].
The plant can be harvested from the wild for local medicinal use and is a potential source of latex for making rubber.

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

71
Title
A California Flora.
Publication
 
Author
Munz P.A. & Keck D.D.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent flora but no pictures. Not for the casual reader.
,
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.

Range

South-western N. America - California, Nevada, Arizona, northern Mexico

Habitat

Desert washes and sandy places; at elevations below 600 metres in California[
71
Title
A California Flora.
Publication
 
Author
Munz P.A. & Keck D.D.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent flora but no pictures. Not for the casual reader.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height2.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects, Lepidoptera
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Asclepias subulata is a plant of dry Mediterranean climates with hot summers and cool or even cold winters and most precipitation falling in the cooler months. Outside of this type of climate, the plant will require a well-drained soil and hot summers, with some protection in cold winters, if it is to thive. This protection can often be applied as a mulch, though it would need to be removed before new growth begins in the spring otherwise slug damage is very likely to occur[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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 in poor soils.
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.
].
A xerophytic plant, it looks like a species of Ephedra[
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.
].
Plants can live for more than 100 years[
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.
].
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

None known

Medicinal

The plant is emetic, ophthalmic, purgative and stomachic[
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.
,
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.
]. The reports do not specify which part of the plant is used.

Other Uses

Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems[
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.
,
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.
,
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.
].

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. 2019-10-14. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Asclepias+subulata>

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