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Leafless desert milkweeds (Asclepias albicans and A. subulata)

These two cane milkweeds grow in very arid habitats. Their threadlike leaves are transitory; the stems conduct nearly all the photosynthesis. Asclepias albicans grows to eight feet tall (2.4 m) and grows in hyperarid rocky habitats below 1000 ft (ca. 300 m) elevation. Asclepias subulata is more widespread and is rarely over three feet tall (1 m).

Depite the absence of leaves, queen (seen here) and monarch butterfly caterpillars find enough food to mature on cane milkweeds.