Heartleaf Milkweed Seed (Asclepias cordifolia)
This is sometimes one of the earlier emerging Western milkweeds, and certainly one of the especially visually striking species – with magenta/wine-colored flowers, almost purple-green heart-shaped foliage, and narrow green-ish-pink seedpods with an elongated point.
As a strongly tap-rooted species, this is a milkweed with good drought tolerance, and an adaptation for dry sites and sometimes rocky soils. It’s an inhabitant of open-sunny hillsides, and dappled patchy forests of oak, fir, and pine ranging from Northern California and Southern Oregon and eastward into the very western edge of Nevada. This plant can also tolerate some short-term winter freezing as it occurs in mid-elevations in mountainous parts of its range.
At 1 to 4-feet in height this is a non-aggressive, generally non-spreading milkweed, and one that sometimes benefits from a little extra care and attention to keep weeds away from it.
Among West Coast milkweeds this was considered a notable historic fiber plant, with ancient peoples harvesting plants extensively for cordage, and net-making.
Heartleaf milkweed is a slow growing, but long-lived plant and one that can be tricky to grow from seed. Don’t expect it to bloom for a year or two after first emergence, but it is deer resistant.
This, like all milkweeds of course, is a host plant for the monarch butterfly (and many other creatures as well). It has some special significance for monarchs as a fairly early emerging plant, and one that can tolerate slightly harsher conditions than showy milkweed.
We think this plant could be adapted quite well to hot, south-facing residential yards with drier soils, or even more rich soils in sites that are burdened with urban heat zones. Similarly this would be an interesting rock-garden plant that would contrast remarkably with fine-textured grasses.
Approximately 50 seeds per packet. (1.1 grams).