IPM1007, Revised November 2009
A perennial from a deep rhizome (creeping root) that excretes a milky sap when broken. Various milkweed species occur throughout the United States, this is one of the few that also invades agronomic production fields in addition to pastures and roadsides. Leaves are opposite, oblong to oval in outline, 4 to 12 inches long, 2 to 4 inches wide. Stems are unbranched, hollow, and also emit a milky sap when broken. Pinkish to white flowers occur in clusters at the end of stems. Large teardrop-shaped fruit often split open in the fall to facilitate aerial dispersal of seeds, which have tufts of silky hairs.
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