Factsheet S37: Asclepias the milkweeds
The milkweeds (or silkweeds) are a large family of tuberous annuals, perennials and shrubs, the hardier ones mainly from North America. They get their name from the milky sap found in all parts of the plant. Several species are grown ornamentally for their colourful flowers and pods which split open to show the silk-tufted seeds. Several of the North American species have long been used medicinally by native peoples and in more recent centuries have found their way into European herbals.