This article has been marked as incomplete and in need of reformatting. Please help us to improve it.

Practical Plants is a community wiki. You can edit this page to improve the quality of the information it contains. To learn how, please read the editing guide.


Toxic parts

Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides[1]. They are usually avoided by grazing animals[1].

Edible uses


The following reports refer to other members of this genus and are possibly also appropriate for this species[K].

Unopened flower buds - cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. They are used like broccoli[2]. Flowers and young flower buds - cooked. Used as a flavouring and a thickener in soups etc[3][4]. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup[5][6]. The flowers are harvested in the early morning with the dew still on them[7]. When boiled up it makes a brown sugar[7]. Young shoots - cooked. An asparagus substitute[5][8][9][3][10][7][2]. They should be used when less than 20cm tall[11]. A slightly bitter taste[11]. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach[6][2]. Young seed pods, 3 - 4 cm long, cooked[5][9][3][6]. They are very appetizing. Best used when about 2 - 4cm long and before the seed floss forms, on older pods remove any seed floss before cooking them[6][11]. If picked at the right time, the pods resemble okra[2]. The sprouted seeds can be eaten[2]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[3][12].

The latex in the stems is made into a chewing gum[13][14]. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost[15]. Yields are higher on dry soils[15].


Unknown part



Material uses

The following reports refer to other members of this genus and are possibly also appropriate for this species[K].

A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark, used in making twine, cloth, paper etc[7][15][16]. It is of poor quality in wet seasons[15]. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems[16]. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth[15][11][16][12]. It is a Kapok substitute, used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material[15]. Very water repellent, it can yield up to 550 kilos per hectare[15]. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Candlewicks can be made from the seed floss[15][17]. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems[13][18][4][11]. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost[15]. Yields are higher on dry soils[15]. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance.

The seed contains up to 20% of an edible semi-drying oil[19][15]. It is also used in making liquid soap[19].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A tea made from the roots is diuretic and laxative[20][21]. It has also been used in the treatment of venereal diseases[21]. The leaves have been rubbed on warts in order to remove them[20]. The latex from the leaves is used, it needs to be applied daily for some time in order to be effective[K].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter[22][16]. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring[K], though stored seed might need 2 - 3 weeks cold stratification[22]. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 3 months at 18°c[22]. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly.

Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established..

Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Asclepias quadrifolia. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in any good soil[23]. Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil[24][25]. Requires a moist peaty soil and a sunny position[26][22].

A good bee plant[27][19]. The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant[17]. The small, pale-lilac flowers are sweetly scented[28]. Many members of this genus seem to be particularly prone to damage by slugs. The young growth in spring is especially vulnerable, but older growth is also attacked and even well-established plants have been destroyed in wet years[K].

Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small[22].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Asclepias quadrifolia. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Asclepias quadrifolia.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Asclepias quadrifolia
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J [Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas] Botanical Research Institute, Texas. (1999-00-00)
    2. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    3. ? Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
    4. ? Kavasch. B. Native Harvests. Vintage Books ISBN 0-394-72811-4 (1979-00-00)
    5. ? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    6. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    7. ? Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    9. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    11. ? McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
    12. ? Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    13. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    15. ? 15.0015.0115.0215.0315.0415.0515.0615.0715.0815.0915.1015.1115.12 Whiting. A. G. A Summary of the Literature on Milkweeds (Asclepias spp) and their utilization. ()
    16. ? Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
    17. ? Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    19. ? Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
    20. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    21. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    22. ? Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    23. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
    24. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    25. ? 25.025.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    26. ? Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials. Collingridge (1926-00-00)
    27. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)
    28. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    29. ? Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)

    Facts about "Asclepias quadrifolia"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyAsclepiadaceae +
    Belongs to genusAsclepias +
    Has binomial nameAsclepias quadrifolia +
    Has common nameFourleaf Milkweed +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partFlowers +, Unknown part +, Leaves +, Seed + and Seedpod +
    Has edible useUnknown use +, Gum +, Oil + and Sweetener +
    Has fertility typeBees +, Insects + and Lepidoptera +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useFibre +, Latex +, Oil +, Pollution +, Stuffing + and Wick +
    Has mature height0.5 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useDiuretic +, Laxative +, VD + and Warts +
    Has search nameasclepias quadrifolia + and fourleaf milkweed +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameAsclepias quadrifolia +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia +, Asclepias quadrifolia + and Asclepias quadrifolia +