Whorled Milkweed - Asclepias verticillata

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Whorled Milkweed - Asclepias verticillata is another member of the milkweed family. It is much shorter and smaller than most milkweeds. The main stem and the leaves are very thin. The blooms are also smaller and are a light greenish color.

In general, milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides and resinoids which are poisonous, although for people quite a bit would need to be ingested. The cardiac glycosides interfere with cell membrane sodium/potassium pumps. Cardiac glycosides are also used to treat congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia.

Whorled Milkweed is a Host Plant for Monarch Butterflies

Whorled Milkweed, like other milkweeds, are host plants for Monarch butterflies. The poisons in the milkweed plants do not bother them - instead they make them taste bad to potential predators.

Whorled Milkweed Pictures

Here's a close up of some flowers:

These plants haven't bloomed yet, but you can see the eggs on them, towards the bottom:

Where to buy Whorled Milkweed

Typical nurseries don't sell Whorled Milkweed. You will most likely have to find a native plant nursery.

Growing Tips

This milkweed doesn't always come up each year in the same place, it tends to move a little over time. I honestly can't remember if I started mine from seed or if I bought the plants, but I'm guessing seed. One or two plants are so little you will probably want quite a few - so seeds make a lot more sense.

Current status of this plant in my garden (last updated: 3/09)

I have quite a few of these, but they are small. They are starting to invade my pussy toe area a bit, but its not causing a problem. Some are coming up in my walking path too. They are easy to pull up, but I tend to not get around to it early enough and then I find eggs on them so I leave them.

I should probably check to see if I have any seeds around and try to get more plants started where I had originally put them.

The Asclepiadaceae Family

This family has about 250 genera and roughly 2000 species. Mostly tropical and subtropical. Some species are herbs, others are vines and shrubs. Most have a milky sap containing poisons (see above).

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