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Asclepias hirtella (Green milkweed)
Smith, R.W.

Asclepias hirtella

Asclepias hirtella (Pennell) Woodson

Green Milkweed, Tall Green Milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

Synonym(s): Acerates hirtella, Asclepias longifolia var. hirtella


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Stout-stemmed perennials up to 3 ft. tall. Leaves are numerous, mostly alternate, 4-6 in. long and up to 1 in. wide with pointed tips. Inflorescences arise from upper leaf axils as umbels. Individual flowers are greenish and slender with 5 greenish-white, often purple-tinged, petals that are curved upwards at the tip. Fruits are smooth, erect follicles up to 4 in. long and 1 in. in diameter. (Bibref 1264) (Bibref 1270) (Bibref 833)

"The silky material inside milkweed pods is useful for more than simply dispersing seeds. During World War II, it was collected and used as stuffing for lifejackets because it is 5 or 6 times more buoyant than cork. It is also warmer than wool and 6 times lighter. A few pounds of this silky "floss" stuffed into a jacket could float a 150-pound pilot if he crashed into the sea and would keep him warm as well." (Bibref 833)


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Follicle

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: greenish white with purple at apex


USA: AL , AR , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MI , MN , MO , MS , OH , OK , TN , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: Threatened in MI and MN.
Native Habitat: Prairies, old fields, barrens, and glades. (Bibref 833) (Bibref 1270)

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Bibref 1264 - Field Guide to Indiana Wildflowers (2000) Kay Yatskievych
Bibref 1270 - Illinois Wildflowers (2004) Kurz, Don
Bibref 833 - Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians (2005) Horn, D. ; T. Cathcart

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Asclepias hirtella in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Asclepias hirtella in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Asclepias hirtella


Record Modified: 2017-08-22
Research By: TWC Staff, NH

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