Family: Asclepiadaceae - Milkweed Family
Perennial herbs; 3.9” to 1' (1 to 3 dm) tall
Leaves: opposite; simple; broad leaves 0.8” to 4.6” (2 to 11.5 cm) long, 0.6” to 4.4” (1.5 to 11 cm) wide; no hairs
Flowers: large greenish-yellow umbellate flowers; petals curled backward; 5 petals; rose colored 5 lobed crown (corona) present between the corolla and the stamens; lobes 0.4” to 0.6” (10 to 15 mm) long; flowers perfect; 5 sepals; 5 stamens; 2 carpels
Pollinators: other species of Asclepias are pollinated by insects (specifically bees, moths and butterflies)
Fruits: 2 follicles
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: Delicate Arch Viewpoint trail
Other: The genus name, “Asclepias”, refers to “Asklepios”, a Greek physician and an authority on the medicinal use of plants and who according to Greek Myth could bring the dead to life. Hades fearing a loss of employment, convinced his brother Zeus to kill Asklepios with a bolt of lightning. The species name, “cryptoceras”, is from “cryptos” which means "hidden" and “keras” which means "horn or antlers".
Did You Know?
Once feared of becoming extinct, desert bighorn sheep are making a tentative comeback in southeast Utah due to reintroduction efforts by the National Park Service. There are roughly 50 sheep in Arches, though their shy nature keeps them well-hidden from most visitors. More...