Asclepias viridis, commonly called green or green-flowered milkweed, is an erect to sometimes decumbent, glabrous perennial that grows to 20-30" tall on usually upright stems clad with mostly alternate, short-stalked, pointed, ovate-lanceolate, pale green leaves (to 2-5” long). As with most milkweeds, the stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. It is native to glades, prairies, pastures, fields and roadsides from Ohio to Nebraska south to Florida and Texas. Tiny green flowers with purple hoods bloom in many-flowered axillary and terminal umbels in May and June. Each flower (to 1” long) has 5 upright pale green corolla lobes (petals) and 5 purple hoods. Horns are absent. Flowers give way to seed pods (to 5” long) which split open when ripe releasing numerous silky-tailed seeds for dispersal by the wind. Seed pods are valued in dried flower arrangements. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies, and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly larvae (caterpillars). Additional common names include green antelope horn (curved green seedpod resembles an antelope horn) and spider milkweed (white crab spider lives on this plant).
It is easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant. Easily grown from seed, and will self-seed in the landscape if seed pods are not removed prior to splitting open. Plants will also spread by rhizomes, but are not considered to be invasive.
This is one of the more unusual milkweeds. We also currently have the shade tolerant Asclepias exaltata, Poke Mikweed, in stock.
Adapted from: Missouri Botanic Garden