Scientific: Asclepias subulata
Common: desert milkweed, rush milkweed
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Origin: Sandy washes in the arid regions of the southern intermountain west at lower elevations below 3000' including the upper reaches of the Sonoran Desert, eastern California, southern Nevada and into Baja California.

Pronounciation: A-SCLE-pee-us sub-u-LA-ta

Hardiness zones
Sunset
11-13
USDA 9-11 (arid zones only)

Landscape Use: Seasonal accent plant for dry landscapes.

Form & Character: Erect stiff, open, airy, and informal.

Growth Habit: Perennial herbaceous dicot, generally basal clumping and erect. Moderate grower from 2 to 5 feet in height. If it's irrigated regularly it will respond with increased vigor and size.

Foliage/Texture: Green to gray green stems, leafless except for new growth; medium fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Small, terminal creamy yellow flowers forming flat-topped umbels during spring through fall. Fruit is horn shaped to 3 inches long.

Seasonal Color: Subtle flower accent during growing season, most intense in spring.

Temperature: Very heat tolerant, cold tolerant to 18oF.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Prefers sandy well drained soils.

Watering: Little to none. Plants that are irrigated have a greatly enhanced productivity.

Pruning: Head back severely to rejuvenate every 5 years.

Propagation: Seed, stem cuttings.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: Desert milkweed is currently quite popular as a desert accent plant. Its stems produce latex that is a source of rubber and might cause a minor dermatitis upon contact. This interesting plant attracts butterflies, and in particular is a forage source for the monarch and striated queen butterflies.

There are 73 species of Asclepias found in the United States at many different elevations. The genus Asclepias is named after the greek god Asklepios, the ancient god of medicine.