Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca
) is an erect-stemmed, herbaceous perennial plant from the Apocynaceae family. It is often thought of as a weed, due to its ability to spread rapidly through underground rhizomes. Common milkweed is native to eastern North America and is most commonly found growing in poor, dryish soils in fields, open woods, waste areas, roadsides, and alongside railroad tracks.
Common Milkweed Toxic Components
All parts of common milkweed contains cardiac glycosides, resinoids and alkaloids. Horses need only consume 0.005 to 2% of their body weight to be poisoned.
What Common Milkweed Looks Like
Common milkweed produces clusters of pink to mauve-white flowers which bloom June to August. Milkweed fruits are spindle-shaped follicles covered with silky white hairs. Milkweed stems and leaves contain a thick, white, milky sap throughout the plant which seeps out when the plant is damaged.