Milkweed seeds have a tuft of long silky hairs attached to one end, which is the seed dispersal mechanism as a breeze can move the seeds quite a distance; kids find the “floating seeds” fascinating. During World War II, the silky hairs from the seed were used in life jackets instead of kapok; many kids contributed to the war effort by harvesting the seeds. Milkweed latex has also been considered as a potential source or rubber and hydrocarbons. Native Americans used the roots to treat swollen glands and to expel tapeworms while colonists used it to treat asthma, rheumatism, syphilis, and heart worms. Also called Rose Milkweed and Marsh Milkweed. The scientific name, Asclepias, is derived from the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios; incarnata refers to the flesh color of the flowers..
Swamp Milkweed flowers are visited by many nectar-seeking pollinators including bumblebess, honeybees, and other bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The leaves and other plant parts are consumed by a variety of insects, including the well-known Monarch butterfly caterpillar. Mammals don’t find this plant to be a favorite due to the fact that it contains cardiac glycosides which are bitter and toxic; however the young shoots and leaves are eaten by deer and rabbits while muskrats and other wetland mammals will consume the roots.