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Arboretum Plant Photo Gallery
Answer to the Front Page Picture of the Week Question
for Jan 6th - Jan 17th, 2006

Picture of Asclepias syriaca.  Click here for a larger image.
This is Asclepias syriaca, or common milkweed.

Common milkweed is native to North America ranging from Canada to the southern United States, USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. The structure featured here is the fruit. The flower blooms in mid-summer and then, by autumn the fruit dries and cracks open for seed dispersal.

Some sources caution that every part of this plant is poisonous and not suitable for ingestion. However, many parts of common milkweed have been used throughout history. For example, Native Americans used flower buds and shoots for making soups, treating ringworm, and even as a contraceptive. During World War II, the seed hairs (shown left) were used for life jacket filler. You can view this plant in the Fern Valley Native Plant Collection.

[Click on the picture to see a larger image].
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or see the links below to view other plant images in our various Photo Galleries.

Go to:
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) Photo Gallery
Award Winning Daylilies Photo Gallery
U.S. National Arboretum Crapemyrtle Introductions Photo Gallery
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Last Updated   January 6, 2006 6:00 PM
URL = http://www.usna.usda.gov/PhotoGallery/AnswerGallery/ImageAnswer_010606.html

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