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 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, "An Epic Monarch Migration Faces New Threats," 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, "Your bird feeder is canceled. Attract birds with these 13 native plants instead," 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, "Is it time to pull the plug and replace freeze-damaged sago palms and citrus trees?," 9 Apr. 2021 The school expects to enhance its existing garden spaces with the milkweed plants. Susan Degrane,, "Bring on the butterflies: Beverly area schools, residents, businesses join effort to Save the Monarchs," 13 Apr. 2021 Consider milkweed for instance, the sole food for monarch caterpillars. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, "Monarch butterfly fans are clamoring for native milkweed. Here are 8 places to buy it," 1 Apr. 2021 Those tips include planting milkweed and other butterfly friendly plants to fuel those long-flying monarchs on their migration path, and limiting pesticide use to just along the ground at the perimeter of your home. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio Zoo celebrates monarch butterflies," 28 Mar. 2021 Populations of eastern monarch butterflies have fallen 80 percent in the past 20 years as milkweed plants have steadily been eradicated. cleveland, "‘Treat’ the monarch butterflies: You have until Halloween to drop off milkweed pods at the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District," 7 Oct. 2020 However, Prudic said there are many things people can do to help butterflies, including planting nectar plants that flower in fall, such as milkweed, sunflowers and pea plants, even in a window flowerbox, and avoiding using pesticides in the garden. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Brink of extinction for western monarch and other butterflies. Climate change plays a role," 5 Mar. 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

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Milkweed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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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