This is undoubtedly the most familiar of the Milkweeds. It is found everywhere in fields and along wood and roadsides during June, July, and August, from New Brunswick and Saskatchewan to North Carolina and Kansas. Its presence is said to be an indication of rich rather than poor soil. The sticky, milky juice of this species is less copious than that of the Purple Milkweed. It has a faint odour and a sub-acrid taste. The roots have been especially recommended in cases of asthma, but they are probably of very little value as a medicine. The young shoots have been used as a vegetable, and were cooked much after the manner of asparagus or spinach. The stout, round and usually simple stalk rises from three to five feet high. The thick-textured leaf is long-oval in shape, with blunt, rounding ends. The apex of the latter is often tipped with a short, stiff point and the base is sometimes narrowed or again slightly fulled on either side at the short stem. The veinings are widely spreading and the midrib is very prominent. The margin is entire. The upper surface is smooth, and the under side is downy. The colour above is grayish green, and whitish or silvery beneath. The leaves measure from four to nine inches in length. The corolla lobes of the large and fleshy flower vary from green through white, to finally a dull purple, from base to tip, with the latter colour predominating. The numerous flowers are very fragrant. They are set on slender stems that spring from the same point on a short, drooping stalk that grows from the axils of the upper leaves, and they form large, handsome, rounding heads or umbels. In the fall, the rough-coated, satin-lined seed pods are filled with white silky fluff, which is attached to many flat, brownish seeds that overlap each other like so many shingles. At this time they are a familiar sight, and the down has been used for stuffing many a pillow and mattress.
SUMMER. COMMON MILKWEED. Asclepias syriaca.
Children delight to make pretty little plumes, puff-balls or pompons by winding the seed end of ever so many tufts together with thread, and allowing the free ends to spread.