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(Asclepias verticillata)
Whorled Milkweed

Host Plant: Monarch Butterflies

Nectar Plant: many insects

Flower Color: white in mid to late summer

Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial plant that grows to 2 feet tall

Range in North America: Most of North America except western areas

Exposure: Full sun, but will tolerate shade

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Soil Requirements: Medium moist, tolerates drought once it is established

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Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

White flowers of whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata), a North Dakota milkweed.
White Flowers of Whorled Milkweed — Mason Brock (Masebrock), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

Eastern Whorled Milkweed and Horsetail Milkweed

Description of Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata), a member of the Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family), is a herbaceous perennial that has white and green flowers, blooms in the spring to summer, and grows to 1 to 2.5 feet tall.  This plant is toxic to livestock.  More about this species can be found on this blog post.

Hosted Species

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on orange flower.
Monarch Butterfly on Orange Flower — ALAN SCHMIERER from southeast AZ, USA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

Many other insects, especially bees use this plant as a nectar source.


This milkweed grows in open areas and barrens with either full sun or part-shade.

Range of Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) in the United States and Canada

Range map of horsetail milkweed (Asclepias subverticillata) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Asclepias, is the Greek name for the God of Medicine.  The species name, verticillata, means “whorled” in Latin (Missouri Botanical Garden).

Native Location

Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone

Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9

Exposure Requirements

Full Sun, Part Shade/Part Sun

Plant Habit


Soil Requirements

Dry, Medium

Hosted Species

Danaus gilippus (Queen), Danaus plexippus (Monarch)


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Whorled Milkweed”

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