Dwarf Milkweed (Asclepias involucrata)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Dwarf Milkweed
Asclepias involucrata
Asclepiadaceae

Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems[46, 61, 177].

  • Medicinal Use

    An infusion of the plant is used as a stomach medicine[257].

    A poultice made from the heated roots is used as a toothache remedy[257].

  • Edible Use

    A gum from the latex can be used for chewing[46, 61, 105, 177].

    Young shoots – cooked[105, 177]. Used as an asparagus substitute.

  • Cautionary Notes

    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[274]. They are usually avoided by grazing animals[274].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter[134, 169]. 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[134]. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18¡c[134]. 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.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors at least in the milder parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil in a sunny position[1, 200]. Succeeds on poor or dry soils and on all soil types. 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]. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small[134]. 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[207].
South-western N. America

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.