Flowering in dappled sunlight to medium shade with curiously interesting white flowers, Asclepias exaltata brightens up any woodland or shade garden.It's commonly known as "The Poke Milkweed" for its resemblance to Phytolacca americana, "Pokeweed". The flowers are long lasting and weep down from atop 36" - 60" tall plants. After fertilization, the flowers fade and 6" to 10" vertical seed pods are set that persist all Summer and well into Autumn. These seeds are easy to collect and germinate. I like to collect them as soon as the first pods start to split open at the seams. At this point, it's easy to scrape them from their silky parachutes before they're dispersed into the air.
The genus name Asclepias is derived from the Greek name of Aesculapius, an ancient god of medicine. The common name "Milkweed" is for the milky sap that flows from a snapped stem in most species. In this species, the specific epithet exaltata refers to the tall height of the plants.
"Milkweeds" are very popular butterfly attractors. Asclepias exaltata attracts Silver-spotted Skippers, Pearl Crescents, Cloudywings, Great Spangled Fritillaries and Tiger Swallowtails to name a few.
Taxonomic Hierarchy Kingdom - Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom - Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants Class - Liliopsida - Monocotyledons Subclass - Asteridae Order - Gentianales Family - Asclepiadaceae Genus - Asclepias Species - exaltata Common name - genus - "Milkweed" Common name - species - "Poke Milkweed" Synonyms - A. phytolaccoides Native range - See - http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi USDA Hardiness Zone - 5, maybe 4 Light preference - Open bright shade Soil fertility preference - Average to rich Soil pH preference - neutral to slightly acidic Soil moisture preference - Average to moist, not wet Bloom time - Mid Spring to early Summer Bloom color - White Foliage - Dark green Spread - 12" - 24" Height - 36" - 60" Deer palatability - Seems deerproof Landscape uses - Specimen or colonial plantings in the shade garden, butterfly garden Related species - Many species of "Milkweed" Medicinal uses - See:http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ascle072.html