Herb: Dwarf Milkweed


Latin name: Asclepias involucrata


Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)



Medicinal use of Dwarf Milkweed:

An infusion of the plant is used as a stomach medicine. A poultice made from the heated roots is used as a toothache remedy.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Dry plains and mesas, occasionally with pine, 1000 - 2000 metres in Arizona.

Edible parts of Dwarf Milkweed:

A gum from the latex can be used for chewing. Young shoots - cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems.

Propagation of Dwarf 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 18C. 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 plains and mesas, occasionally with pine, 1000 - 2000 metres in Arizona.

Known hazards of Asclepias involucrata:

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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.