Whorled milkweed is the tiniest and cutest milkweed native to Illinois, although not as showy, with greenish-tinged white flowers. It grows in dry fields and along embankments and highways. It often pops up along the shore south of the Lavin Plant Evaluation Garden. It can take drought but can’t compete with taller plants. Growing to about 1.5 feet in height, the leaves are linear and crowded in whorls or clusters along numerous upright stems. The flowers clusters appear atop the stems in mid-summer. The flowers are complex, with five reflexed sepals and five forward-pointing petals. Each petal has a “hood” at the base and a little curled “horn”, giving the flower the appearance of a crown. These become pencil-thin seedpods that point upward. Many butterflies and beetles are attracted to them, but the milky sap is toxic to birds and livestock.
Bedding or Border, Specimen Plant
Attracts Butterflies, Resistant To Deer, Native to Midwest