Summary of interesting things about milk flowers

In our country, milk flower tree is considered one of the features of Hanoi autumn. Milk flower tree with pure white color brings the gentleness of nature, so this is a plant that is loved by many people and planted in many places. Learn interesting things about milk flower tree helps them always make people feel excited every time they mention it.

Learn about milkweed?

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Scientific classification

Milk flower tree is also known as milk tree, crabs, crabs, crab combs. They have the scientific name Alstonia scholaris, a tropical evergreen plant belonging to the genus Milkweed, family Apocynaceae. In Vietnam, the reason people name this plant is milk flower because the sap has a characteristic milky white color.

Outstanding morphology of milkweed: 

  • Tree: A large tree about 10 to 20m tall, branches growing round, 
  • Bark: often cracked and gray in color
  • Flower: Small greenish-white flowers in clusters in the leaf axils.
  • The fruit consists of two long and narrow pods containing many seeds. They usually ripen from December to May.
  • The seeds have cilia at both ends, short and small hairs, with tufts of hair at the end of 1.5 – 2cm.
  • Simple leaves 9-20cm long, 2-5cm wide, leaf blade thick, oval, upper leaf green glossy, underside greyish, margins whole, smooth.

Main distribution of milk flowers

In the natural environment, milkweed appears at an altitude of 200 – 1,000m above sea level. They are light-loving, fast-growing plants, living mainly in the tropics. Mixed forest is also a favorite habitat for milkweed, among other trees, and is unevenly distributed, with more than 50-60 species of trees per hectare in some places. With the characteristics of light-loving and fast growth, few pests and diseases, giving shade all year round, people often plant this plant around the village or make green trees along the road.

It is a plant that grows well in other tropical and subtropical climates, so milkweed is widely distributed in Asia, Australia, China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, especially Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines… Along with that, it is also imported for cultivation. in many other countries with similar climates, where there is plenty of light and the right conditions.

Recognizable shape 

Flower tree shape

The milk flower trunk has an average height of 10-20m. Stems upright, not too large, with a diameter of 50-100 cm. When grown in ideal conditions, the tree can reach a height of 40m. The tree is much branched on high, the branches grow at elbows and intertwine. The branches grow in circles around the trunk, forming quite wide and thick foliage with a canopy diameter of about 5-10m. The bark of the milkweed flower is cracked, gray, with a very sticky white resin. Leaves are single leaves, growing in rings of 5-7 pieces.

Milk flower shape

milk flower
The milk flower is small and folded like a funnel

Milk flower is a hermaphroditic flower, usually white, growing in small clusters at the ends of branches. In some types of milkweed, they also appear flowers with other colors such as yellow, pink or green like apricot flowers or roses. Each beautiful small flower has 5 petals and 5 sepals arranged in 4 spirals. When growing in clusters, they make us visualize the shape of funnels with a length of 3-5cm.

Milk flowers are bluish when small and gradually turn milky white when blooming. When milk flowers begin to wither, they often grow in pairs that can be curved or slightly wavy, the average length is from 30-60cm, inside contains a lot of seeds. After the flowers fall off, the milk flowers will grow. The fruit of the milk flower is brown, has longitudinal veins, consists of two long stalks, and the seeds are small and flattened, with cilia at both ends for easy dispersal.

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Scent of milk flowers

In poetry and literature, you must have heard of verses and verses that mean “Milk flower season returns, fragrant with every wind”. They have a scent quite similar to hyacinth flowers. With a moderate density, the scent of milk flowers is quite pleasant and romantic. But with a dense density, the smell of milk flowers causes a very sweet and slightly pungent feeling. For those who do not like the smell of milk flowers, it will feel a bit stuffy and uncomfortable when smelling this flower. At night, the scent of flowers will be denser, so if you smell it a lot, it may give you a headache.

Conclusion. Milk flowers have a sweet scent for those who like this flower, but are a nightmare for others because they find them to have a strong sweet smell.

Which season does milk flower bloom

After confetti summer, this flower is associated with autumn in Hanoi. When the weather becomes cold, when you circulate on the street, suddenly looking up, you will easily discover a white sky and ecstatic fragrance coming from milk flower trees. This is the beauty and nostalgia that many people far from home remember.

Speaking of which, you already know that milkweed usually blooms in the fall. Mid-August, early September is the time when the first clusters of milk flowers begin to bloom and bring fragrance to the sky. The fruit season is from September to December, when Hanoi welcomes the first cold winds, milk flowers begin to bloom on roads and streets throughout the capital.

Uses and harms of milk flowers?

Milk flowers bring many uses in human life

Uses in life

Same as blue pea flower, milkweed is quite easy to grow, green all year round and the care is not too picky, tall shape, wide canopy, so it is planted a lot as a construction tree in public places to create a landscape.

The leaves are wide and thick, so they are suitable for planting as shade trees in crowded public areas such as parks, school grounds, residential areas, urban areas. or along the streets…

In addition, white milk flower has a unique beauty and fragrance, so you can easily see milkweed in any area such as sidewalks, park, urban area, resort or villa campus, garden. Taking pictures to check in with milk flowers in the autumn weather in Hanoi is always a “colloquial” of many young people. Therefore, to attract a large number of visitors, many places also plant milk flowers to decorate the space.

Uses for the economy 

They are usually not valuable for construction or industrial use. But their soft and light characteristics can be used as a tool to make some household items or to make pencils, cork… Our country also often exports milkweed wood to foreign markets, bringing value. commercial.

Medical uses 

Not only for ornamental purposes, milkweed has long been known as a precious remedy similar to primrose, chrysanthemum

Great use of milk flowers 

Can be used in the treatment of diabetes: 

The Journal of Food Chemistry once published the results of an experiment showing that the methanol extract of dried milkweed leaves has activity against α-glucosidase – one of the causative agent of diabetes. Therefore, the use of milk flowers as a supplement to diabetes prevention and treatment is something that has the potential to be intensively researched.

Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, relieves asthma: some alkaloids from ethanol extract of milk flower leaves have anti-asthmatic effect in laboratory mice. Information published by the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Cancer control: According to the journal Phytotherapy research, some alkaloids extracted from milkweed plant have been shown to act as an anti-cancer agent and may increase survival in laboratory mice. Therefore, milk flower is known as a “medicine” with the ability to cure many different diseases

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Uses of milk flower bark 

The bark is often used for detoxification in some Ayurvedic remedies. In addition, they can also be used as a very effective remedy for intestinal diseases. According to many records, the part of milk flower can be processed in many ways, using antibacterial and treating many diseases such as toothache, sores, poor appetite, diarrhea…

Uses of milkweed leaves

Traditional medicine in some Eastern countries has noted that milkweed leaves have a bitter taste, cool properties, detoxifying and heat-clearing effects. They also work to help relieve discomfort when numb, with a mental refreshing effect.

Therefore, parts of the milkweed plant are often used as tonics, menstrual medicines, antipyretics, treatment of anemia, skin diseases, and digestive tract diseases. . However, you should not use it at home for diseases because they need to be formulated to produce effective products to cure diseases.

Effects of milkweed plants

The scent of milk flowers is too strong, causing air pollution

Besides many useful uses, milkweed also brings many harms to human life. In some roads, milk flower trees are planted densely with each tree a few meters apart, this dense density makes people overwhelmed by the strong scent of milk flowers. Some people in some central provinces such as Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Quang Nam, and Da Nang have filed a “suit” for milk flower because it is planted densely on the streets, “affecting health”. cause respiratory diseases such as allergic rhinitis, sneezing, runny nose, headache, even dizziness, dizziness, difficulty breathing if inhaled too much.

The authorities in Noida (India) said: “If asthma patients stand under the milkweed tree for too long, they may face some problems. on respiration”. Therefore, in this country, milk flower trees have been cut down to replace them with mausoleum trees.

Many families living in a place with many milk flowers said that they are the cause of insomnia, affecting their health and spirit, making them uncomfortable and unable to concentrate on work.

Milk flower seeds disperse in large quantities causing dust and skin allergies 

In addition to the strong floral scent, the fruit and seeds of this flower are also self-dispersing. When the fruit ripens and cracks, the cilia-covered seeds are dispersed in the wind to everywhere in the air. In dry weather, they form dust, making people susceptible to skin allergies, rashes, itchy acne, etc. Especially people with asthma, sinusitis, if inhaled too much will cause allergic rhinitis. and bronchitis.

So we need to know that milkweed brings many useful uses, but we need to balance in the purpose of use. Milk flowers should not be planted with too thick a density because it will cause many serious consequences.

How to grow and care for milkweed plants?

How to grow and care for milkweed plants

Preparation steps

Choose the right season

The right time to plant milkweed is around the time after spring and in the rainy season.

Preparing the environment

Milk flower has the ability to adapt to most types of environments, from nutrient-poor to nutrient-rich ones. But they are evergreen plants, so they need a lot of light, so you need to plant milk flowers in a cool place, with lots of sunlight and hot and humid temperature. In addition, the planting area for each milk flower tree should be 1km apart, so that they can receive the most light, grow tall and wide, and grow well.

Preparing soil

You can prepare any soil, not too barren, then mix a little more coir, manure to increase porosity and nutrition. The potting soil also needs drainage holes to avoid waterlogging of the roots. Before planting, we need to dig a hole, the size of the hole is from 60 * 60 * 60 cm (or larger than the potting soil). It is recommended to dig 1 week in advance to detoxify and reduce pathogens in the soil. Then fertilize with manure, fill the hole until the day of planting.

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Propagating plants by cuttings

To increase survival, you should propagate milkweed by cuttings. The way to do it is quite simple, choose a thin, stout branch, then cut a piece of about 15-20cm, trim the leaves.

Dip the branch into the root stimulant solution and plug it into the pre-prepared potting soil, water and cover regularly, after only 2 weeks the branch will take root and grow like a new tree.

How to grow milkweed plants

Thanks to its intense vitality and excellent adaptability, the process of growing and caring for milkweed is quite simple.

Growing trees

After the tree grows to 40cm or more, we can separate the pot and plant it in the ground. Tear off the bark and place the potting soil in the hole, keep the pot and the stem straight, remove the cover, cover with soil and compact it. Then fertilize with micro-organisms from 0.2 to 1kg/plant, can add more manure for the best growth.

If planting trees in public places, when newly planted, it is necessary to pay attention to the fence carefully so that the tree does not break or fall due to bad influences outside. .

If you grow an adult tree with a height of more than 1.5m, it is necessary to build fences and stakes for anchoring, to avoid falling trees and affecting the growth rate. growth of the tree.


You should water 2-3 times per week, the amount of water just enough to moisten the soil, if you water too much, the roots will be waterlogged.


The nutritional needs of milkweed are not high, so you only need to fertilize about once every 4 months. When the tree is mature, the roots are deep, no need to fertilize anymore.

Pest control

The latex in the stems and leaves of milkweed has the ability to repel insects and pests, so most milkweeds do not have problems with harmful animals. Common pests are leaf-sucking stingers such as aphids, spiders, locusts, etc. or other types of leaf-eating caterpillars. Sometimes you just need to clear the weeds and remove the dead leaves.

plant growth time

Milk flowers are perennial plants, their lifespan can reach more than 100 years old. You only need to take care of the first 3 to 4 years of life, after this time the tree will enter the mature stage, so it does not need much care. Perform root cultivation, plowing around 1 to 2 times a year, at the same time, weeding around, trimming branches and leaves to create a beautiful shape and ventilation for the tree. Simultaneously, apply from 100 to 150 grams of NPK and from 5 to 10 kg of manure at each fertilization.

The above is information about milkweed, hope you have a better understanding of this special and meaningful plant.