Health for humans, animals & plants

Monograph of invasive plants in Europe: common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.)

This paper summarizes all aspects about Asclepias syriaca L. (Apocynaceae), including taxonomy, introduction and distribution, ecology and biology, biodiversity and agricultural implications, and management. Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) is a perennial plant native to North America.

The species was introduced to Europe as a garden and ornamental plant, fiber plant, and bee pasture. The plant is established in many regions in Europe and has become increasingly widespread in recent decades (>1980s). Asclepias syriaca occurs mainly in anthropogenic and (semi-)natural habitats (roadsides, croplands, fallows, forest edges, open forests). Studies have already shown negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Asclepias syriacaalso occurs as a competitive weed in various agricultural crops. Since 2017, the species is on the list of invasive alien species of Union-wide concern. Effective direct control options include mechanical control and herbicide application.

Original publication: Monograph of invasive plants in Europe N°6: Asclepias syriaca L.

Last updated: 14.09.2022

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