Asclepias erosa Torr.
Desert milkweed is native to northern Baja California, southern California, and Arizona. It favors dry slopes, roadsides, and washes, at elevations below 5000' (1.5 km), in full sun.
Plants: Single, erect, yellow-green stems, to 3½' (1 m) in height, rarely approaching 6½' (2 m).
Leaves: Leaves are a pale whitish green color, sometimes darker green, with prominent white veins. They are opposite, and vary from hairless to very hairy. Leaves are often curled, with wrinkled edges, and are lanceolate to ovate.
Flowers: Flowers are cream-colored to yellowish or greenish, forming roughly spherical umbels about 1½-3½" (3.8-8.9 cm) in diameter. Each flower has 5 petals, which open fully and may be bent back (reflexed). Fully opened, the flowers are about ⅜" (9.5 mm) around. The reproductive parts of the flower form a second star-shaped structure in the center. Flowers appear from April to July.
Fruits: Oval-shaped, sharp-tipped capsules, 2½-3½" (7-9 cm) long, containing seeds with long, silken parachutes.
Edibility: Milkweed stems contain a thick latex sap that some indigenous peoples roasted, producing a kind of chewing gum.
Asclepias erosa on calscape.org
Asclepias erosa on www.americansouthwest.net
Asclepias erosa on CalPhotos
Asclepias erosa on arizonensis.org
Asclepias erosa at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Asclepias erosa on www.inaturalist.org
Asclepias erosa on Calflora
Asclepias erosa on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network
Asclepias erosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.