Trillium Ridge Flora and Fauna
Common milkweed
Asclepias syriaca
Location: Southwest corner meadow; along drainage ditch
This species is native to most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, excluding the drier parts of the Prairies. It grows in sandy soils and appreciates lots of sunlight. It was one of the earliest North American species described in Cornut's 1635 Canadensium plantarum historia. Failed attempts have been made to exploit rubber (from the latex) and fiber (from the seed's floss) production from the plant industrially. The floss was nonetheless used for stuffing and it has been found to be hypoallergenic. The plant has also been explored for commercial use of its bast (inner bark) fiber which is both strong and soft. Both the bast fiber and the floss were used historically by Native Americans for cordage and textiles. Milkweed oil from the seeds can be easily converted into cinamic acid which is a very potent sunscreen when used at a 1-5% concentration.
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Genus: Asclepias (milkweeds)
Family: Apocynaceae (dogbane)
Order: Gentianales (gentianales)
Class: Magnoliopsida (Dicots)
Phylum/Division: Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)