Asclepius incarnata

Botanical Name: Asclepius incarnata
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. incarnata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Swamp milkweed, Rose milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Swamp silkweed, and White Indian hemp

Habitat :Asclepius incarnata is native to North America.(N. America – Quebec to Manitoba and Wyoming, south to Texas and New Mexico.) It grows in damp to wet soils .(Swamps, wet thickets and shores) .Butterfly Weed

Description:
Asclepius incarnata is a herbaceous perennial upright plant. It is 100- to 150-centimeter (39- to 59-inches) tall plant, growing from thick, fleshy, white roots. Typically, its stems are branched and the clump forming plants emerge in late spring after most other plants have begun growth for the year. The oppositely arranged leaves are 7 to 15 centimeters (2.75 to 6 inches) long and are narrow and lance-shaped, with the ends tapering to a sharp point.

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The plants bloom in early to mid-summer, producing small, fragrant, pink to mauve (sometimes white) colored flowers in rounded umbels. The flower color may vary from darker shades of purple to soft, pinkish purple and a white flowering form exists as well. The flowers have five reflexed petals and an elevated central crown. After blooming, green seed pods, approximately 12 centimeters (4.5 inches) long, are produced that when ripe, split open. They then release light to dark brown, flat seeds that are attached to silver-white silky-hairs ideal for catching the wind. This natural mechanism for seed dispersal is similar to that used by other milkweed plants

It is cultivated as a garden plant for its flowers, which attract butterflies and other pollinators with nectar.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Massing. Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil. Requires a moist soil and a sunny position, doing well by water. Succeeds on dry soils and on all soil types. Plants are hardy to at least -25°c. A very ornamental plant, the flowers are very attractive to butterflies. The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant. 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. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers.

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Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring[K], though stored seed might need 2 – 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18°c. 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.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Oil; Sweetener.

Unopened flower buds – cooked. Tasting somewhat like peas. They can also be dried and stored for later use. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods, harvested when 3 – 4 cm long – cooked. A pea-like flavour, they are very appetizing. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup.
Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Carminative; Diuretic; Emetic; Laxative; Stomachic.

It is used primarily in the treatment of respiratory disorders. Its uses are very similar to those of Asclepias tuberosa.

A tea made from the roots is anthelmintic, carminative, diuretic, emetic, strongly laxative and stomachic. The tea is said to remove tapeworms from the body in one hour. It has also been used in the treatment of asthma, rheumatism, syphilis, worms and as a heart tonic. An infusion of the roots is used as a strengthening bath for children and adults.

Other Uses:
Fibre; Latex; Oil; Pollution; Stuffing; Wax.

A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark. It is used in twine, cloth etc. It is easily harvested in late autumn, after the plants have died down, by simply pulling it off the dead stems. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a Kapok substitute, it is used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material. It is very water repellent. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and stems. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance
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 usually avoided by grazing animals. The leaves and the stems might be poisonous.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepias_incarnata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asclepias+incarnata

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