Weed Seed: Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Family

Asclepiaceae

Distribution in Canada

Found in SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, PE

Duration of life cycle

Perennial

Seed/Fruit type

True seed

Seed identification features

Size

  • length: 6.0–7.0 mm
  • width: 5.0–6.0 mm

Shape

  • tear-drop shaped (widest near base)
  • base is flat (appears cut off)
  • seed is very thin

Surface texture

  • smooth, dull
  • outer wing of seed is bubbled

Colour

  • overall reddish-brown colour, darkening towards centre of seed
  • reddish-brown marking on one side of seed

Other structures

  • wing differs from seed in texture and in colour (lighter)
  • hilum not obvious, at base of seed
  • fresh seed in capsule has a tuft of white hairs (mature seed does not)

Similar species

Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

  • showy milkweed is found in BC, AB, SK, MB, and in the western United States
  • butterflyweed is found in ON, QC, and in the eastern and southern United States
  • seeds of both species are similar to common milkweed seeds in teardrop shape, size, reddish-brown colour and markings
  • it may be necessary to examine habitat and distribution pattern of the milkweed to aid in identification

Photos

Photo - Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seed (inner side)
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seed (inner side)
Photo - Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seed (outer side)
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seed (outer side)
Photo - Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seeds
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seeds

Similar species

Photo - Similar species: Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) seed (inner side)
Similar species: Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) seed (inner side)
Photo - Similar species: Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) seed (inner side)
Similar species: Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) seed (inner side)
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