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collage of Common Milkweed and Purple Milkweed

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) vs. Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)

Updated October 5th, 2021

Although these plants average different bloom colors, they are otherwise quite similar and can be hard to tell apart, especially early in the season. Even some blooming plants can be hard to distinguish, due to a high variation in bloom color in each species. Common milkweed is wider-ranging and occurs in a broader variety of disturbed habitats, whereas purple milkweed is rarer and more restricted to intact natural areas.

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