milk·​weed | \ ˈmilk-ˌwēd How to pronounce milkweed (audio) \

Definition of milkweed

: any of various plants that secrete latex especially : any of a genus (Asclepias of the family Asclepiadaceae, the milkweed family) of erect chiefly perennial herbs with milky juice and umbellate flowers

Illustration of milkweed

Illustration of milkweed

Examples of milkweed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every spring, the Friends of the Monarch Trail hosts a milkweed plant sale for the community. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 June 2021 The groups have embarked on an effort to add 30,000 milkweed plants across the state to provide the butterflies with places to breed and acquire the sustenance for migration., 1 June 2021 Report monarch and milkweed sightings at to assist scientists and conservationists. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 May 2021 Monarchs lay their eggs on the leaves of milkweed plants, usually around March. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 May 2021 The butterflies, which start as caterpillars, only eat milkweed, according to Save Our Monarchs. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, 30 Apr. 2021 The researchers compared each butterfly’s carbon and hydrogen isotope signature with isotope signatures of milkweed varieties in different parts of North America. Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Apr. 2021 Monarch caterpillars dine only on milkweed plants, whose milky sap is toxic to many animals if consumed in large quantities. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2021 Gardeners are also planting zinnia seeds to meet the gap for transplants, and retail nurseries have located milkweed transplants to help meet the needs for nectar sources. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, 9 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'milkweed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of milkweed

circa 1592, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for milkweed

Time Traveler

The first known use of milkweed was circa 1592

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Statistics for milkweed

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Milkweed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for milkweed



English Language Learners Definition of milkweed

: a type of North American plant that has white juice


milk·​weed | \ ˈmilk-ˌwēd How to pronounce milkweed (audio) \

Kids Definition of milkweed

: a plant with milky juice and clusters of flowers


milk·​weed | \ ˈmilk-ˌwēd How to pronounce milkweed (audio) \

Medical Definition of milkweed

: any of various plants that secrete latex especially : any plant of the genus Asclepias (family Asclepiadaceae, the milkweed family) including several whose dried roots were formerly used medicinally

More from Merriam-Webster on milkweed

Nglish: Translation of milkweed for Spanish Speakers


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