Milk Weed (Asclepias)



Milkweed is named for its milky juice which consists of a latex. This native perennial plant grows 2-6′ tall from a pale green central stem that is erect and relative stout. There are no branches on the plant except at the top where the flowers occur.  The leaves grow up to 8″ long and 3½” wide are broadly oblong in shape, and smooth along the edges and opposite each other. The upper leaf’s  top surface is pale-medium to dark green and hairless, while the lower leaf’s surface has very short woolly hairs that densely cover it. When injured a milky latex sap oozes out that is  toxic if contacted by skin or ingested. Balls of flowers, roughly 2½-4 in. across, top the branches of the upper leaves. The faded light pink to reddish purple flowers are scented with a scent resembling violets or pansies and are quite fragrant. Each flower is about ¼ in. across, consisting of 5 reflexed petals and 5 raised hoods with curved horns. The hoods are lighter in color than the petals. The pedicels of the flowers are light green to pale red and hairy. The flowers bloom  from early to mid-summer and lasts about 1-1½ months. The seedpods (follicles) are 3-4 in. long, broad and covered with soft prickles and short woolly hairs. Each seedpod split along one side to release numerous seeds that have large tufts of white hair when mature. The wind carries the seeds  afar, to start new colonies.

Throughout the America’s it’s habitats include moist to dry black soil prairies, sand prairies, sand dunes along lake shores, thickets, woodland borders, fields and pastures, abandoned fields, vacant lots, fence rows, and areas along railroads and roadsides.

Conditions of Poisoning:
Ingestion, Skin contact

Toxic Principle:
Some species contain cardiotoxins (steroidal glycosidic cardenolides) and other species contain neurotoxins.

Clinical Symptoms:
Reactions to ingestion of this plant can include: vomiting, profound depression, weakness, anorexia, and diarrhea are common; may be followed by seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid, weak pulse, dilated pupils, kidney or liver failure, coma, respiratory paralysis and death


 Lone Star English Setter Club provides this information
as a partial reference of the potential poisons that could harm your dog.
We are not veterinarian’s and DO NOT provide medical help.

 If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance,
contact your local veterinarian or
the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poisoning hotline directly