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Kotolo Milkweed
Asclepias eriocarpa

About Kotolo Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) Asclepias eriocarpa is a species in the Apocynaceae (Dogbane) family known by several common names. It is native to California and adjacent parts of Nevada and Baja California, where it grows in many habitat types, especially dry areas. In California it is found primarily in the Coast Ranges from Mendocino County southward into Mexico, in the Sierra foothills, and in the northern part of the Central Valley. It is an erect perennial herb which is usually coated in a thick layer of white hairs. The leaves are lance-shaped to oval, rippled, and arranged oppositely in pairs or in whorls of 3 or 4. The flower cluster is a large umbel-like cluster of flowers. Each flower is white to cream and usually tinted with bright pink. It has a central array of rounded hoods and a corolla reflexed against the stalk. The fruit is a large, woolly follicle. The plant was used as a source of fiber and medicine by several California Indian groups, including the Ohlone and Luiseno. In the garden it makes a striking specimen, especially when massed. All Milkweeds are important to Monarch butterflies.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1.3 - 3 ft (0.4 - 0.9 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)

Upright Columnar

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Cream, Pink, White

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry open places such as grasslands, openings in woodlands or chaparral

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
22' - 8798'

Annual Precip. ?
6.1" - 67.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 2.99"

Coldest Month ?
33.1° F - 54.2° F

Hottest Month ?
55.2° F - 80.2° F

Humidity ?
0.36 vpd - 29.07 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils including clay

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -20° F

Sunset Zones ?
7*, 8*, 9*, 10, 14*, 15*, 16, 17, 18*, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
Many companions including Pines (Pinus sp.), Fir (Abies sp.), Oak (Quercus sp.), Sagebrush (Artemisia sp.), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.), Encelia sp., Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon sp.), Woolly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum), and many others

Wildlife Attracted
Many insects, especially butterflies. Very important as a host plant for Monarch butterflies. This means the milkweed gardener must be prepared for the plant to be eaten by Monarch caterpillars.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Pest Control
It is recommended that no pest control be used because this species is host plant to the Monarch butterfly and will be eaten by Monarch caterpillars

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Butterfly Gardens, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Black Oak, Indian Milkweed, Woollypod Milkweed

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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