In accordance with Western Carolina University’s policies in response to Covid-19, Highlands Biological Station is currently closed to the public with the exception of the Botanical Garden trails, but does remain open to researchers and faculty on a limited basis; please contact the HBS office (828-526-2602) for information on reservations, rates, and Covid-19 policies.  We currently plan to offer our field courses, workshops, Grant-in-Aid program, and HBS Nature Center programs in summer 2021, with Covid-19 safety protocols in place (TBA).​ Please bear in mind, however, that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this winter and spring, and those interested in attending HBS courses or programs or utilizing HBS facilities in spring or summer 2021 should check the HBS website regularly for updates.

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias incarnata

Swamp milkweed


Asclepias incarnata is a relative of the more recognized butterfly milkweed. Distinguished by it’s bright clumps of pink blooms that emerge in summer, swamp milkweed is an equally attractive perennial for both humans and insects. As the common name would suggest, swamp milkweed are primarily found in swampy, moist bottomland areas throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Given its native range, it’s tolerable of wet soils and areas with poor drainage. One notable feature of the flowers aside from their soft pink color is that the slight fragrance they give off.


While not as commonly thought of, A. incarnate is still an excellent nectar source for Monarch butterfly larvae. Another insect commonly seen benefitting from this plant are the Tussock moth caterpillars.