I ran into this plant (well, not literally…) at the University of Tennessee Research Center in Jackson a few years ago. I immediately thought it was a beefy asclepias. Close, but not quite! It’s giant milkweed (Calotropis gigantea, USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11), also called crown flower. It’s tropical, and not extremely hardy, so it was likely being grown as an annual here, along with golden jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum ‘Aureum’, annual) in one shot and with a shiny purple-leafed basil (Ocimum cv., annual) in the other. Its beefy leaves add great texture to an annual planting, and its lavender flowers are fascinating and beautiful. Yup, it’s going on my shopping list.
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how Giant is this, exactly?
So sorry, DreamGardener - I should have mentioned that the giant milkweed, where hardy, can reach up to 12 feet tall.
yes. Yes, that's Definitely GIANT! Dang!
This looks very sinilar to the milkweed that grows here in Minnesota. The flower heads are different, though.
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