Mojave Milkweed

Asclepias nyctaginifolia

habit of Mojave Milkweed, Asclepias nyctaginifolia, photo by Michael Plagens

In the foothills of the Mazatzal Mountains - here Red Brome Grass (Bromus rubens) is rampant. So are ORV's which could carry ignition sources to the dry brome grass. Fire could well destroy these and many other plants in the Sonoran Desert, a habitat that is not fire adapted. This photo is available in higher resolution at Wikimedia.

Sponsored Links:

RANGE: Mostly in the higher elevations of the Sonoran Desert where grassland or chaparral are beginning to appear. Also found in California and New Mexico.

LEAVES: Wedge-shaped to elliptic with broadly serrated and/or wavy margins. Opposite on stem and rather tough textured. White latex sap abundant.

PERENNIAL: Regrows each year from underground roots/tubers. Generally less than 30 cm tall.

UNARMED: Latex sap, however, can be irritating.

FLOWERS: Umbellate clusters of pale green and pinkish flowers on a short peduncle. Often the flowers appear underneath the leaves and are partially shaded by them. The blooms shown here were observed in the Goldfield Mountains, Maricopa Co. on 5 April 2015. A Forelius and might be searching for access to the nectar.

FRUIT: Paired ovaries develop from a fertilized flower. After the comose seeds have been dispersed by the wind the stiff, empty capsules may remain for some months.

habit of Mojave Milkweed, Asclepias nyctaginifolia, photo by Michael Plagens

Asclepiadaceae (Apocynaceae) -- Milkweed Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 11 May 2010,
updated 18 July 2015.