Linneaus used 'syriaca' when naming this species because he believed it was from Syria.
The floss, which is 5 times more buoyant than cork and 6 times lighter and warmer than wool, has had a variety of uses such as stuffing pillows, mattresses, life preservers, and flight jackets.
Scientists experimented with using the milky sap as an alternative source for rubber.
The fibrous stems have been suggested as an alternative for flax or hemp.
Native Americans used common milkweed flowers in jam and, after careful preparation, young shoots were eaten like asparagus.
Caterpillars of monarch butterflies often feed on leaves of common milkweed. As a result, predators find both caterpillars and adult butterflies distasteful and generally avoid eating them.