WHORLED MILKWEED
File Size: 93 KB
 
Asclepias verticillata  L.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-3 feet
Family: Apocynaceae - Dogbane Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August, September
Stems: Erect, unbranched, somewhat angled, usually with lines of minute hairs extending downward from bases of leaves.
Leaves: Whorled, 3-6 per node, simple, sessile, crowded, erect to spreading, narrowly linear to filiform, 3/4 to 3 inches long, less than 1/10 inch wide, glabrous or minutely pubescent; margins entire, rolling under; tips pointed.
Inflorescences: Umbels, several, on stalks .5 to 1.5 inch long in axils of upper leaves, 6-20-flowered.
Flowers: 5-parted, about 1/4 inch tall, on thread-like stalks 1/4 to 1/2 inch long; calyx lobes triangular, green to purple-tinged, sparsely hairy to nearly glabrous; corolla lobes elliptic, glabrous, whitish green or sometimes purple-tinged, bent abruptly downward; hoods broadly oblong, erect, white; tips broadly rounded; horns slender, needle-like, arching inward.
Fruits: Pods, narrowly spindle-shaped, 3 to 4 inches long, 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide, glabrous or minutely hairy, ascending or erect on straight or curved stalks; seeds egg-shaped, tufted with whitish hairs at tips.
Habitat: Dry prairies, rocky hillsides, and sandy, open woods, most abundant on chalk or limestone soils.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Toxicity: Very poisonous to livestock but is unpalatable and rarely consumed. It can cause problems when fed in hay.
Uses: Some Native American tribes used whorled milkweed medicinally to treat snakebites and throat and nose ailments.
Comments: Whorled milkweed forms colonies. Formerly treated as Asclepiadaceae - Milkweed Family.

Whorled milkweed
91 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Whorled milkweed flowers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Whorled milkweed inflorescence
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Whorled milkweed pods
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Riley County, Kansas
Whorled milkweed inflorescence
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Whorled milkweed in fruit
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas