Herb: Woollypod Milkweed
Latin name: Asclepias eriocarpa
Synonyms: Asclepias fremontii
Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)
Medicinal use of Woollypod Milkweed:A decoction of the plant, and a salve made from it, is used in the treatment of colds. The milky sap is applied on a regular basis to corns in order to gradually remove them. It is also applied to cuts, sores and warts. The powdered dried roots are inhaled to cause sneezing. Smoke from the burning dried plant is inhaled as a treatment for asthma.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Dry barren places below 2000 metres.
Edible parts of Woollypod Milkweed:A gum obtained from the latex in the stems can be used for chewing. It is usually boiled in water first until it coagulates and is sometimes mixed with oil.
Other uses of the herb:A fibre from the stems is used for ropes, clothing etc. The fresh stems are soaked in water, or the dried and decaying stems basted with boiling water, in order to remove the fibre. Rubber can be made from latex in the stems and leaves. The leaves contain up to 2.4% latex.
Propagation of Woollypod Milkweed:Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, though stored seed might need 2 - 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 3 months at 18°C. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.
Cultivation of the herb:Dry barren places below 2000 metres.
Known hazards of Asclepias eriocarpa:Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. They are usually avoided by grazing animals. The plant is said to be poisonous to sheep.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.