Asclepias curassavica

Asclepias curassavica L.

Common Names: Wild Ipecac, Hippo

Family: Apocynaceae

Habit: Asclepias curassavica grows as an herb up to 1 m in height.  The leaves are oppositely arranged to 30 cm, oblong to oblanceolate, with an entire margin and acute/acuminate leaf apex. The stems and leaves have a milky sap.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal umbels. The calyx has 5 unfused, reflexed sepals. The corolla has 5 reflexed, unfused, orange petals. There are 5 unfused stamens. Within the flower there are curved, upright, orange appendages (crown) each with a lobed projection that arise from the corolla. The superior ovary has 2 locules with many ovules.  The fruit is a swollen elongate follicle at maturity.

Habitat: Asclepias curassavica grows in Human Altered environments (yards and old fields).

Distribution: Asclepias curassavica is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but does occur throughout the islands. It is native to tropical western hemisphere and Africa but is widespread across the world in tropical and subtropical regions.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Asclepias curassavica is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

It is used as an ornamental in yards and will attract Monarch butterflies.