Asclepias curassavica

Species:Asclepias curassavica L.
Common Name:Scarlet Milkweed
Associated Ecological Communities:**
Growth Habit:Herb
USDA Symbol:**
Plant Notes:Scarlet Milkweed is an introduced herbaceous perennial in the Dogbane family (Apocynaceae). It is native to the American tropics. Scarlet Milkweed is widely cultivated in Alabama and has rarely escaped in the southern half of the state. It has been found on roadsides and in waste areas. It is a perennial from a tap root with erect stems from 1-3 feet in height. The stems are pubescent and green in color. Leaves are opposite, short petiolate, lanceolate in outline, and glabrous to slightly pubescent. Flowers are produced in axillary umbels. Each umbel contains 10-20 orange-red and yellow flowers. The fruit is a follicle. All parts of the plant exude a milky white latex sap when injured, and contain cardiac glycosides and resinoids which can be toxic if eaten. Scarlet Milkweed plants or seed are commonly available from nurseries. Stem cuttings taken during the growing season can also be rooted in moist sand. It is recommended that Scarlet Milkweed not be planted for Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterflies in areas that do not experience freezing temperatures each year. A protozoan parasite of monarch butterflies, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha can be deposited on leaves by infected butterflies visiting the plant. In areas where the plant is not killed back by freezing temperatures, the parasite load on the plant increases over time. When caterpillars feed on the infected foliage they become infected. High levels of the parasite in adult monarchs have been linked to lower migration success, reduced body mass, shorter lifespan, lower mating success, and poor flight ability.—A. Diamond.
Taxonomic Notes:Native of Caribbean islands.
Status:Not Native
Specimen: View specimen details in the Alabama Herbarium Consortium Specimen Database

** Not applicable or data not available.


FamilyAPOCYNACEAE - Dogbane family
Genus Asclepias
Species Asclepias curassavica L. - Scarlet Milkweed


Citation Asclepias curassavica Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 215. 1753.
Basionym: **
Type: CURACAO: Without data (lectotype: LINN 310.19). Lectotypified by Woodson, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 41: 59. 1954.

** Not applicable or data not available.


No synonyms exist for this species.

Specimens and Distribution

This species has been reported in the following counties by the herbaria listed. An overview of the individual specimens are provided in the table that follows. Click on the accession number to view details; click on column headers to sort; choose a county or herbaria to filter the specimen data.

Counties included on distribution map: Lee, Mobile

Counties represented by specimen data listed below:

Herbaria represented by specimen data listed below: ALNHS, UWAL

Range of years during which specimens were collected: -

Barcode / Accession No. County Coll. Date Collector &
Collection No.
Herbarium &
Herbarium Name Used
UWAL0035335 Mobile 27 Jun 2015 Horne, Howard E.
Asclepias curassavica Linnaeus
ALNHS00006188 Lee 05 Jun 2019 Barger, T. Wayne
Asclepias curassavica L.
First Page Previous Page Next Page Last Page
Records per Page: