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California Milkweed
Asclepias californica
  
About California Milkweed (Asclepias californica) 9 Nurseries Carry This Plant Asclepias californica is a species in the Apocynaceae (Dogbane) family known by the common name California milkweed. It is native to California and northern Baja California from the East Bay region southward and the foothills of the Sierras. It is a flowering perennial with thick, white, woolly stems which bend or run along the ground. The plentiful, hanging flowers are rounded structures with reflexed corollas and starlike arrays of bulbous anthers. The flowers are dull to bright shades of lavender or pink and form an attractive contrast with the grey/white foliage. This plant was eaten as candy by the Kawaiisu tribes of indigenous California; the milky sap within the leaves is said to be flavorful and chewy when cooked.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Size
Size
3 ft tall
3 ft wide

Form
Form
Spreading

Dormancy
Dormancy
Summer Semi-Deciduous

Flower Color
Flower Color
Lavender, Pink, White

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Wildlife Supported
 
Milkweeds generally are host plants for Monarch butterflies and are essential to their survival. Native bees and other insects are also attracted.

 
Butterflies & moths hosted ( 2 confirmed , 1 likely * ) SHOW ALL

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 2x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to 5° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Fast, Medium, Slow

Soil Description
Soil Description
Tolerates sand and clay. Soil PH: 6.0 - 8.0

Common uses
Common uses
Butterfly Gardens, Bird Gardens

Companion Plants
Companion Plants
Milkweeds are most often used to create a butterfly garden. A wide variety of trees and shrubs can be used including Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Pines (Pinus sp.), Junipers (Juniperus sp.), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.), Ceanothus sp., Oaks (Quercus sp.), and Coyote Brush (Baccharis sp.). Also include other butterfly-attracting herbs such as members of the Asteraceae family, other Milkweeds (Asclepias fascicularis or speciosa), thistles (Cirsium sp.), Buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.), Mint (Monardella sp.), and Sage (Salvia sp.). Mix early bloomers with late bloomers and evergreens with deciduous to provide year-round attraction.

Maintenance
Maintenance
It is important to avoid all chemical pest control around Milkweeds to protect Monarch butterflies and caterpillars.

Propagation
Propagation?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Dry slopes, canyons, foothills with chaparral or woodlands; also disturbed areas, roadcuts

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 4.0" - 50.7", Summer Precipitation: 0.14" - 2.95", Coldest Month: 32.8" - 55.9", Hottest Month: 55.2" - 84.5", Humidity: 1.07" - 36.04", Elevation: 3" - 8798"

Alternative Names
Botanical Names: Asclepias californica ssp. greenei
Common Names: Greene's California Milkweed, Greene's 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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