Asclepias verticillata

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Asclepias verticillata
Asclepias verticillata Western Highland Rim.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Asclepias
A. verticillata
Binomial name
Asclepias verticillata
Asclepias verticillata flower cluster.jpg

Asclepias verticillata, the whorled milkweed, eastern whorled milkweed, or horsetail milkweed, is a species of milkweed native to most all of eastern North America and parts of western Canada and the United States.[1]


This is a perennial herb with a single stem 6 inches to 3 feet tall. The very narrow, linear leaves are arranged in whorls of 4–6 with short internodes. The inflorescence is an umbel of 7–20 greenish white flowers.[2][3] Flowers are fragrant and bloom between June and September. Its native habitats include glades, dry prairies, dry slopes, dry open woods, pastures, fields, and roadsides. The Latin specific epithet verticillata is in reference to the leaves appearing in whorls.[4]


This species can reproduce vegetatively and does not depend on pollinators, but it does produce some nectar, mostly in the early evening hours. Insect visitors to the plant include wasps, honeybees, and lepidopterans such as moths and the cabbage white.[5] Like other milkweed species, this plant is a host plant for the monarch butterfly whose caterpillars feed on the leaves.

The plant is toxic to livestock.[3]


It was used as a medicinal plant by Native American peoples. The Choctaw used it to treat snakebite, the Lakota and Hopi used it to increase breast milk in nursing mothers, and the Navajo used it for nose and throat problems.[6]


  1. ^ "Asclepias verticillata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. ^ Hilty, John (2016). "Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)". Illinois Wildflowers.
  3. ^ a b "Asclepias verticillata". Native Plant Database. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin.
  4. ^ "Asclepias verticillata - Plant Finder". Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  5. ^ Willson, M. F., et al. (1979). Nectar production and flower visitors of Asclepias verticillata. American Midland Naturalist 102(1) 23–35.
  6. ^ Asclepias verticillata. Native American Ethnobotany. University of Michigan, Dearborn.