Sonoran Desert Milkweeds and Dogbanes

Shrubs, vines and perennial herbs. Bright white latex sap rapidly oozes from breaks in tissue. Distinctive, five-pointed flowers often in an umbel. Fruit a follicle containing usu. comose seeds.

Climbing Milkweed

Funastrum cyanchoides

Needle-leaf Milkweed

Asclepias linaria

Watercolor by Michael Plagens

Twining, twisting vine that may ascend high into wash bank trees or cling in-mass to fences. Leaves slightly hairy, mostly linear or somewhat arrow-shaped. V. common. Detailed Description

Pen & Ink by Mike Plagens

Woody shrub at upper elevations of the Sonoran Desert. Uncommon. Ten to thirty stems from base usu. less than 1 meter tall with crowded pine needle-like leaves. Detailed Description

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Desert Milkweed

Asclepias subulata

White-stemmed Milkweed

Asclepias albicans

Leafless green to white stems a meter tall. Very popular in xeriscapes. Detailed Description

Large, long smooth-green wands reaching a 1 to 2 meters tall. Woody stems below. Far southwestern portions of Sonoran Desert. Detailed Description.

Mojave Milkweed

Asclepias nyctaginifolia

Arizona Swallowwort

Cynanchum arizonicum

Wedge-shaped to elyptic, opposite, tough leaves. Clusters of large, green-hued flowers. Upper elevations of Sonoran Desert. Detailed Description.

Not-so-common vine with small white-yellow flowers appearing mostly singly in leaf axils. Pods elongate. Detailed Description.


Matalea parvifolia

Desert Milkweed

Asclepias erosa

Easily goes unnoticed with very small dark flowers on a vine with slender stems and small arrow-shaped leaves. Pods elongate. Detailed Description.

Robust, erect milkweed found mostly in deep sandy washes in far western Sonoran Desert and the Mojave Desert. Umbels of cream flowers large and nearly spherical. Detailed Description.

Palmer's Bluestar

Amsonia palmeri

Hairy Climbing Milkweed

Funastrum hirtellum

The pale blue flowers are arranged into a spherical cluster and have a long tubular throat. Pods elongate. Detailed Description.

Similar to the common milkweed vine, but leaves and flower clusters noticeably hairy/fuzzy. Detailed Description.


Sonoran Desert Places


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 11 Feb. 2008,
updated 27 Aug. 2020.