ASCLEPIADACEAE - Milkweed Family

Perennial herbs, vines, and shrubs with milky sap, some cactus-like

Leaves opposite or whorled, simple, entire

Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic, with elaborate corona containing hoods and horns, highly specialized pollination mechanism, pollen contained in waxy pollinia connected in pairs to glands, stamens and carpels united into gynostegium

Fruit a follicle, seeds with tuft of silky hairs (comose)

250 genera, 2000 species

Economic importance - ornamentals, livestock poisoning

Diagnostic characteristics: corona, pollinia, fruit a follicle with seeds with silky hairs, milky sap