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Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

Host Plant: Monarchs

Nectar Plant: Bumblebees, hoverflies, Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterflies, moths, and ants

Flower Color/Time: green and white/late spring to summer

Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial that grows 2-6 feet tall

Range in North America: Eastern North America

Exposure: Shade to partial sun, but can tolerate full sun on forest edges

Hardiness: Zones 3-7

Soil Requirements: moist, well-drained soil

White flowers of Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) in the woods.

Dendroica cerulea, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

No other common names known.

Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata), a member of the Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family), is a herbaceous perennial that has green and white flowers that bloom in the late spring and summer.  These plants are known to be deer resistant, but are not rabbit resistant.  This plant, like a lot of milkweeds, is aromatic when in bloom.  More information about this species can be found on this blog post.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch Butterfly on Goldenrod – ALAN SCHMIERER from southeast AZ, USA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Poke Milkweed is a nectar plant to many other insects.

Range map of poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) in the United States and Canada.


Poke Milkweed is often found in woodlands and woodland edges on moist well-drained soil.  It is native to eastern North America except Florida.

The sap of this plant, as well as other milkweeds make Monarch butterflies unpalatable to predators.  This same sap is toxic to humans.

Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) Links


Minnesota Wildflowers

Bring Back the Monarchs


Capital Naturalist


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