MILKWEED, plant of the Euphorbiaceae family. Many genera comprising scores of species are found in Israel. Attempts have been made to identify them with plants mentioned in the Bible, but such attempts are without foundation. One plant mentioned in the Mishnah belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family: the Calotropis procera, the mishnaic Petilat ha-Midbar ("desert wick," Shab. 2:1). It is a shrub growing in the salt Jordan valley and the Arabah. It has large leaves and its fruit is like a big lemon, but instead of juice it contains many seeds enveloped in shining silky fibers. These are used for making cushions, and wicks too can be prepared from them, but since the oil does not rise well in the fiber its use for the Sabbath lamp is forbidden (Shab. ibid.). The popular name of the fruit is "Sodom apple," which has no connection with "the vine of Sodom" (Deut. 32:32). Milkweed is mentioned by Josephus (Wars, 4:484) who points out that this fruit of Sodom appears edible but on being opened turns to dust. The reference is to the seeds, which have hairy adhesions by which they are broadcast. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora, 1 (1928), 282f.; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aẓ ha-Mikra'i (19683), 82. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Feliks, Ha-Tzome'aḥ, 131. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

, (Asclepias syriaca)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • milkweed — [milk′wēd΄] n. 1. any of a genus (Asclepias) of perennial plants of the milkweed family, with a milky juice, or latex, and pods which when ripe burst to release plumed seeds 2. any of various plants with similar milky juice adj. designating a… …   English World dictionary

  • Milkweed — Milk weed , n. (Bot.) Any plant of the genera {Asclepias} and {Acerates}, abounding in a milky juice, and having its seed attached to a long silky down; silkweed. The name is also applied to several other plants with a milky juice, as to several… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • milkweed — (n.) 1590s, from MILK (Cf. milk) (n.) + WEED (Cf. weed) (n.); used in reference to various plants whose juice resembles milk …   Etymology dictionary

  • milkweed — noun Date: circa 1592 any of various plants that secrete latex; especially any of a genus (Asclepias of the family Asclepiadaceae, the milkweed family) of erect chiefly perennial herbs with milky juice and umbellate flowers …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • milkweed — /milk weed /, n. 1. any of several plants that secrete a milky juice or latex, esp. those of the genus Asclepias, as A. syriaca. Cf. milkweed family. 2. any of various other plants having a milky juice, as certain spurges. [1590 1600; MILK +… …   Universalium

  • milkweed — milk·weed milk .wēd n any of various plants that secrete latex esp any plant of the genus Asclepias (family Asclepiadaceae, the milkweed family) including several whose dried roots were formerly used medicinally * * * milk·weed (milkґwēd)… …   Medical dictionary

  • milkweed — noun 1》 a herbaceous American plant with milky sap. [Genus Asclepias.] 2》 (also milkweed butterfly) another term for monarch (in sense 2) …   English new terms dictionary

  • milkweed — /ˈmɪlkwid/ (say milkweed) noun any of various plants with milky juice, as the widely distributed herbs or shrubs of the genus Asclepias. See cotton bush …   Australian English dictionary

  • milkweed — klemalis statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Klemalinių (Asclepiadaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Asclepias). atitikmenys: lot. Asclepias angl. milkweed; silkweed vok. Seidenpflanze rus. ваточник; ластовень lenk. tojeść …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

  • milkweed — noun Any of several plants, of the genus Asclepias, that have a milky sap and have pods that split to release seeds with silky tufts Syn: silkweed …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.