Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton

Giant Milkweed, Swallow-wort, Crown-flower

Family: Apocynaceae

Genus: Calotropis

Category: Shrub

Zones: 10b to 11

Size: 8 to 10' tall

Growth Rate: Moderate

Exposure: Sun


White to purple flowers. Tropical shrub.

From Bot. Reg. a tall upright plant, sometimes acquiring the height of 6 or 8 feet, covered, unless at the corolla, by a soft white deciduous down; leafless, except towards the upper part, producing throughout a thick milk-coloured juice, which presents itself on the slightest puncture.


Published in Hortus Kew. (W.T. Aiton), ed. 2. 2: 78 in 1811.

Native to India.

No dispute about the publication but some attribute it to R.Br. while others say W.T.Aiton. Tropicos adds "name not specfically attributed to R. Br., notwithstanding note in index" and Flora of China uses W.T.Aiton so that is what I am going with.

Basionym is Asclepias gigantea L.

Also published in Bot. Reg. 1: 58 in 1915.

From Bot. Reg. A native of the East Indies, where it is said to grow in sandy places. Cultivated in this country from the year 1690, at which time it was in the royal garden at Hampton Court.

Other names listed in Bot. Reg.:

Asclepias gigantea L. - basionym

Madorius gigantea (L.) Kuntze - synonym

...a native of the East Indies... In the Kew Catalogue, it is said to have been cultivated so long ago as the year 1690, at the Royal Gardens, Hampton Court... In the island of Jamaica, it is known by the name of the Auricula tree, where it attains to the height of six or seven feet. (Bot. Repos. - Asclepias gigantea)

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner