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Green-flowered Milkweed Asclepias viridiflora

Description

Green comet milkweed is a native perennial wildflower in the Apocynaceae (dogbane) family found in open woodlands or woodland margins, sand dunes, prairies, grasslands, or limestone glades.  It prefers quality habitats and does not thrive in disturbed areas. The Latin for "viridiflora" is green-flowered.  

It has upright unbranched stems that reach two feet tall have short hairs.  The leaves are opposite and appear either folded or wavy.   Both the stem and leaves contain a milky sap that can cause contact dermatitis in humans and can cause birds to avoid insects, like monarch butterfly larva that feed on this plant.  The flowers are light green to yellow with a blush of pink and appear from late spring to late summer.  The plant forms from a large central tap root and the plants are usually found in solitary rather than in colonies.  When the plant begins to set its green fruit in spindle shaped pods, it does begin to decline in appearance.  

Plant in the full sun in dry sandy, loamy or rocky soils.  This milkweed will tolerate partial shade and poor soils and even rich soils as long as they are well-drained.   This plant is resistant to browsing by mammals.  

While this is not a particularly showy landscape plant it does provide valuable habitat for pollinators.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Long-horned beele.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native perennials#NC native#Monarch butterfly#wind dispersed seeds#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#native wildflower#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#hairy stems#nectar plant late spring#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant late summer
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native perennials#NC native#Monarch butterfly#wind dispersed seeds#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#native wildflower#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#hairy stems#nectar plant late spring#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant late summer
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Asclepias
    Species:
    viridiflora
    Family:
    Apocynaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Wildlife Value:
    This plat supports the larval stage of the monarch butterfly. The nectar from this plant attracts bumblebees.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Follicles are green 4" long, 1/2"-3/4" wide and pointed at either end. When they are mature in the fall they turn brown and split open on one side to reveal dark brown flattened oval tufted with white hairs on one end seeds that are wind dispersed. The follicles are smoother than other milkweeds and can help with the ID of this plant.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    15-45 flowers appear in a 1 3/4" wide dome-shaped clusters (umbles) that hang downward from the upper leaf axils. Flowers appear for about three weeks anywhere from May through August and are yellow green, light green, with a hint of pink. Individual flowers are 8 mm long and 3 mm wide with 5 petals and 5 sepals.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are simple, opposite in arrangement, lance-shaped, 4" long and 1 1/2" wide, wavy or folded along their margins with hairs. The upper leaf surface is darker green than the lower leaf surface and they have light green to red-green 1/8" long petioles. Veination is pinnate with reticulated secondary veination. Leaf shape changes depending on soil moisture, with longer thinner leaves on more drought stressed plants and wider rounder leaves on plants with adequate water.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Light green to purple-green, unbranched with some hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis