Dry to moist places below 7,000 feet including plains, hills, valleys, roadsides, and disturbed grounds; uncommon in deserts
California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Narrowleaf milkweed has many thin, erect stems with long pointed leaves which are very narrow and often whorled about the stem, giving the plant its common names. It blooms in clusters of pale pink or lavender-tinted white crown-shaped flowers which have five reflexed lobes that extend down away from the blossom. The fruits are smooth milkweed pods which split open to spill seeds along with plentiful silky hairs.
Monarch butterflies are specific to milkweed plants, including narrowleaf milkweed. Milkweeds are the only type of plant on which they lay their eggs, the larvae will feed on the milkweed leaves. Eggs are laid on the underside of young healthy leaves.
Milkweed sap contains a lethal brew of cardenolides (heart poison), which produces vomiting in low doses and death in higher doses.
Narrowleaf milkweed produces a fiber that was used by indigenous people to make ropes. The plant itself was used as a contraceptive and snake bite remedy.
Sierra Nevada Wildflowers, 2nd Edition. 2013. Karen Weise
Emma Wynn (research, content, and photo)
Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)