Asclepias purpurascens L.
Family - Asclepiadaceae
Stems - Erect, herbaceous but stout, typically simple, from a taproot, with milky sap, pubescent and also with a vertical line of tomentoulose hairs decurrent from the base of each petiole, to +1m tall.
...again, with milky sap.
Leaves - Opposite, decussate, short petiolate. Petioles to -1cm long, antrorse pubescent. Blades to +20cm long, 8cm broad, entire, abruptly acute at the apex, abruptly tapering to a rounded base, often with a purple tinge on the midrib adaxially, pubescent and deep green adaxially, light green and densely pubescent abaxially. Lateral venation anastomosing.
Inflorescence - Few axillary pedunculate umbels near the apex of the stems. Peduncles to +/-7cm long, erect, sparse pubescent but tomentoulose on one side. Flowers +/-50 per umbel. Pedicels to +/-2cm long, tomentoulose, subtended by linear bracts. Bracts withering quickly, to +/-6mm long, pubescent.
Flowers - Petals 5, reflexed to spreading, purplish-pink, glabrous, to +1cm long, +/-4mm broad, acute, oblong-lanceolate, entire. Hoods purplish-pink, +/-7mm long (tall), glabrous, connected at the base below the anther column. Horns purplish-white, 2mm long, down-curved and converging at the apex of the anther column. Anther column mostly green (white at the apex), 3-4mm in diameter. Pollinia to -2mm long, the connective deep purple. Pistils 2, glabrous, light green, 3mm long in flower.
Flowering - May - July.
Habitat - Rocky open woods, glades, prairies, stream banks, wet meadows and valleys, thickets, roadsides.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This showy species can be found throughout Missouri. The plant is quite striking and would grow with little care in a garden. This species also attracts many flying insects and would be a great addition to a butterfly garden.
Photographs taken off Hwy 21, Reynolds County, MO., 6-1-03, and off Hwy 106, Shannon County, MO., 6-12-04.