Asclepias verticillata ‘Whorled Milkweed’ is native to the United States. I purchased this at our local Native Plant Sale back in June. It blooms from June-September. My plant is just getting buds on the stems that are a orangish shade. Once it blooms it has clusters of white flowers on stems of slender fern like foliage. It grows 1-3 ft tall, prefers sun-part shade conditions and likes average-poor well drained dry soil. In addition, it is drought tolerant and deer resistant as well as a host plant for Monarch butterflies. The nectar of the flowers attract bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, and beetles. Bees or wasps are the more effective pollinators. Predatory insects that will visit are Ambush Bug and Mantids. The Yellow Milkweed Aphid extracts juices from the stems and leaves of the plant. In turn the Aphids will attract Ladybird Beetles and Green Lacewings which are beneficial insects that feed on the Aphids. The caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly feed on the foliage and flowers. In fact, Milkweeds in general are the only type of plant where the eggs are laid and the larvae will feed & mature into a chrysalis. According to Wikipedia it has been used as a medicinal plant by Native Americans in the past. But I didn’t find any specific medicinal uses noted anywhere. The sap was boiled into a gum like substance that becomes hard and is added to salmon fat or deer grease to create a chewing gum. That doesn’t sound too appealing to me. Yet this plant is poisonous and should not be ingested. An interesting fact I found is this toxin makes the Monarch Butterfly taste bad to most animals. This is nature’s way of stepping in and ensuring survival of the species I guess.
‘Whorled Milkweed’ – Host for Monarchs