Crop of Image:Asclepias curassavica.jpg. Asclepias curassavica, from the Milkweed family. Common names: scarlet milkweed, bloodflower, silkweed, Indian root. Taken in my backyard in Sarasota, Florida, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Asclepias curassavica – Scarlet Milkweed, Sunset Flower Seeds
This tender perennial is native to South America, but has naturalized worldwide in many tropical and subtropical areas.
It is part of the milkweed family, and as such, exudes a milky sap from the stem and leaves when cut. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on this plant, and the resulting larvae use the plant leaves as a food source.
The flowers are red-orange with yellow hoods, and bloom for a longer period than the perennial milkweeds that are winter hardy in some areas. These brilliant wildflowers also attract hummingbirds!
Like most milkweeds, it has opposite leaves and milky sap. The leaves are about 5 in (12.7 cm) long, narrowly elliptic, and pointed at both ends. Scarlet milkweed gets about 3-4 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall and usually has a few pairs of symmetrical branches.
The flowers are orange and red and borne in terminal and axillary clusters that are 2-4 in (5.1-10.2 cm) across. It blooms continuously from spring until autumn. The fruits are spindle shaped pods, 3-4 in (7.6-10.2 cm) long, that eventually split open to release little flat seeds that drift away on silky parachutes
Origin: Not US Native
Other Common Names: Bloodflower, Silkweed, Indian Root, Cotton Bush, Sunset Flower
Bloom Time: Summer
Height: 18″ to 36″
Spacing: 15″ to 18″
Light: Full Sun
Soil Moisture: Medium
USDA Zone: 3a-10b
Germination: No pre-treatment needed. Soak seeds in hot water for 24 hours, then sow seeds on soil surface at 70F and water.
All milkweeds are poisonous if ingested, and the milky sap is a skin irritant. The butterflies whose caterpillars feed on milkweeds contain the same poisonous glycosides and are poisonous as well. (more…)