Asclepias (weeds)

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Asclepias syriaca (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Asclepias L. - (milkweeds)

This genus contains around 200 species of herbaceous plants which are mainly found in the Americas. The plants have branching stems and often grow to the size of a small bush. The milky sap and the fibrous seed pods are characteristic. Some species are considered agricultural weeds or have been introduced into other countries as ornamentals and have become invasive. Some species are also toxic.

Asclepias has previously been part of the milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae) together with several closely related genera. However, following a taxonomic review (Endress & Bruyns, 2000), this family is now treated as a subfamily (the Asclepiadoideae) of the Apocynaceae.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: