Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes


The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Colophospermum, Brunia and Quaqua. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Trees, Shrubs and Succulents into their own new Albums under Genera. 


There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 170 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.


In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Regions Album is the one on the Limpopo Valley and the latest Parks and Gardens Album is on the Mapungubwe National Park.


2. Want to talk about an Album Item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Asclepias fruticosa

Botanical name

Asclepias fruticosa

Other names

Milkweed; wild cotton; swan plant; melkbos (Afrikaans); tontelbos (Afrikaans)


Asclepiadaceae/ Apocynaceae


Small evergreen perennial shrub, usually around 1 m to 1,5 m in height; exudes a milky latex

Description of stem

Erect, straight, light green stem that tends to branch higher up only; turns grey to brown in mature specimens

Description of leaves

Simple, lanceolate to linear, alternate, glabrous, light green; margin entire, apex sharply pointed

Description of flowers

Axillary umbels of 5 to 10 creamy white flowers; lobed and reflexed corolla around laterally flattened corona lobes

Desciption of seed/fruit

Inflated green and later light brown, papery pod or follicle; short bristly hair cover the outer surface; dark seeds have silvery cotton wool-like attachments that facilitate wind distribution

Description of roots

Sometimes a taproot, but in hard ground a few main roots meander just below the surface of the ground, often further than the height of the plant



Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed, although it tends to invade and is not often planted


Takes over neglected pieces of veld or cultivated fields


In traditional medicine taken as a snuff (ground dried leaves); as leaf infusions used orally for intestinal disorders or in children as an enema as a purgative; also used for headaches and tuberculosis

Ecological rarity

Very common

Pests and diseases



The highveld grassland has twelve species of Asclepias inhabitants; A. fruticosa is a troublesome weed in Australia, at least in Queensland


Grassland and disturbed ground; a road-side weed; different soil types

Distribution (SA provinces)

All SA provinces


South Africa; Lesotho; Swaziland; Zimbabwe; Namibia; Botswana


Info also from


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