Asclepias californica, California milkweed is one of the most beautiful milkweeds in California. It has deep purple flowers and almost white gray fuzzy foliage. It is very drought tolerant even occruing in some high desert areas. It is found mostly in Southern California. It can sometimes be found with Eriogonum fasciculatum polifolium, Quercus douglasii, Diplacus sp., Mirabilis sp, and Artemisia californica. California milkweeds go dormant in fall triggering Monarch Butterflies to migrate south on schedule. (If you order these during their dormancy period they ship very well but will arrive as a bag of soil with some roots in it.) The alkaloids associated with this milkweed and other milkweeds give the butterflies that feed on it protection from predators. Alkaloids from the wrong milkweed (South American, Mexican, etc.) can expose the butterflies to predation. If the monarch or other butterfly has not evolved with the milkweed they may have limited tolerance for the particular alkaloid or latex of the plant species. The California flyway runs from Baja to Canada, it does not include Mexico proper nor Central America. If you live in Chicago you can plant Mexican species (Asclepias mexicana) or Asclepias tuberosa, don't plant our species. You might look at the Monarch entry in James Scott's Butterflies of North America and articles by Fink, L and L.P. Brower. Which milkweed is best for me?
Asclepias californica tolerates sand.
Foliage of Asclepias californica has color gray and is stressdeciduous.
Flower of Asclepias californica has color violet.
Communities for Asclepias californica:Chaparral, Mixed-evergreen Forest, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland and Yellow Pine Forest.