Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae (the Milkweed family). It is a perennial herb that is native to the western half of North America. This herb grows in fields, roadsides or near streams, and it can reach 45-120 cm in height. The leaves are opposite, narrow to widely oblong and covered with soft fine hairs. The rose-purple flowers bloom at the large umbels atop of branched stems in all summer. Their corollas are reflexed and the central flower parts, five hoods with prominent hooks, are star-shaped. The fruit is a large, rough follicle. Native Americans used all parts of this plant for medicinal uses and ate some parts as a food.