Asclepias syriaca is a large, coarse, weedy plant with large, broad, oblong leaves. It forms round clusters of pale pink, fragrant blooms in the upper leaf axils. Also referred to as Common Milkweed, this perennial's leaves and stems exude a milky sap when cut. Asclepias syriaca is great for large meadows or larger gardens as it spreads rapidly via long (6'+) deep rhizomes*.
Asclepias syriaca is native to the eastern two thirds of North America, as far west as Montana in the north and Texas in the south, plus Oregon. It is typically found in fields, open woods, waste areas, along railroad tracks and roadsides. It commonly forms large colonies.
Asclepias syriaca prefers full sun and dry, average to poor soil.
Its large leaves make it a preferred larval food for Monarch butterflies. This perennial is also a good nectar source for a variety of pollinator species. Its large seed pods split open in the fall releasing papery seeds on silky parachutes. The seed pods are nice for drying or if left for winter interest.
* For a similar, but more well-behaved milkweed, check out Asclepias speciosa.