Apocynaceae - milkweed family
Species that grow without cultivation on Mount Desert Island

compiled by the
Champlain Project - P. O. Box 55 - Bass Harbor, Maine  04653

(updated 17 February 2018)

Apocynaceae - milkweed family
[information to be added]

Mount Desert Island is home to 2 species in 2 genera that grow without cultivation. If you already know which species you have or are interested in learning about, click on the appropriate species link below. Otherwise, to determine which genus that the plant in question falls into, refer to the table immediately below the species list.
   Apocynum (1 species)
      Apocynum androsaemifolium - spreading dogbane (common [see note 1 at bottom of page])
   Asclepias (1 species)
      Asclepias syriaca - common milkweed (uncommon)

stem color flower petals
Apocynum red at the top recurved
Asclepias green at the top not recurved

Apocynum (dogbane)
[information to be added]

Apocynum androsaemifolium (speading dogbane) - [information to be added]
(click on an image to enlarge)

Asclepias (milkweed)
Maine is home to four species of Asclepius, only one of which grows on Mount Desert Island.

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) - The early-season flower buds and the very young developing pods are edible after boiling.
   leaves: The leaves are entire (i.e., the margin is neither toothed nor lobed) and their arrangement is opposite (i.e., they grow two at each node on opposite sides of the stem).
   habitat: This native species grows in fields and along roadsides. Donald and Lillian Stokes, in their Guide to Enjoying Wildflowers (p. 232.), reported digging down about six inches from the base of the vertical stem and finding a rhizome, a horizontal, underground stem, about six inches in diameter. As a result of this spreading rhizome, it is common to see many plants growing near each other. A good place to see this species is south of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust building just north of Somesville. If you are lucky, you may see the larva of a monarch butterfly (see image below right).
(click on an image to enlarge)

   1. Frequency designations are from the paper “Vascular flora of the Acadia National Park region, Maine” by Craig W. Greene, Linda L. Gregory, Glen H. Mittelhauser, Sally C. Rooney, and Jill E. Weber, published in the spring 2005 issue (vol. 107, No. 930) of Rhodora: Journal of the New England Botanical Club.