Asclepias quadrifolia

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Asclepias quadrifolia
Asclepias quadrifolia 001.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. quadrifolia
Binomial name
Asclepias quadrifolia
Jacq.

Asclepias quadrifolia is a species of milkweed commonly called fourleaf milkweed or whorled milkweed. The plant occurs in the eastern United States and Canada.

Description[edit]

Fourleaf milkweed is a perennial herb from a fleshy rhizome. The plant is small and slender compared to other milkweeds at only 45 cm tall.[1] Leaves usually elliptic to ovate, opposite in arrangement but clustered to form a false whorl, 2.5-12.0 cm long, 1–6 cm wide.[2] Pale pink to white flowers are borne in rounded, usually pendulous clusters from the leaf axils and terminus. The fruit is a follicle or pod which is very slender, 3.2 to 5.6 inches long, 1/4 to 1/3 thick, lacking tubercles, minutely-hairy to glabrous; seeds broadly oval, to 1/3 inch long, tufted with white to tan hairs at tips.[3]

Approximately 1 year old remaining pods of fourleaf milkweed

Habitat[edit]

Unlike more commonly-known species such as common milkweed or butterflyweed, fourleaf milkweed is a woodland denizen. It usually occurs in dry, rocky open forest. It is frequently found on upland slopes.[4]

Ecology[edit]

Insects that take nectar from the plant include bumblebees and other bees, wasps, ants, flies, and butterflies. The caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly feed on the foliage.

Toxicity[edit]

Most Asclepias are toxic if consumed in large quantities due to cardiac glycoside content.[5]

Cultivation[edit]

Fourleaf milkweed is rare in cultivation.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]