Asclepias variegata, (White Milkweed)
Asclepias variegata will catch anyone’s eye when it’s in bloom. The umbels have 30+/- white flowers that create a spherical white ball, a snowball-effect, which contrasts with its green foliage. It thrives in open woodland and woodland edge habitats and requires some shade.
Distribution: AL, AR, CT (Endangered), DC, DE, FL GA, IL IN, KY, LA MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY (Endangered), OH, OK, PA (Endangered), SC, TN, TX, VA, WV
Flower: Color is white with purple tinge at the base of the corolla and hoods. Horns protrude out of the hoods. Corolla flexes backward. Flowers buds at first are green, but turn white before blossoming. Umbels erect and spherical with 30 +/- flowers.
Foliage: Usually a single stem that is thin and narrow. Stem color varies from green to a brown red. Leaf arrangement is opposite and attachment is petiolate.
Growth Period: May – September.
Habitat: Thickets and woodland areas.
Height: 1–4 ft (30-121 cm).
Leaves: Oval, 2–6 in (5-15 cm) long and ½ -3 in (1-7 ½ cm) wide, generally thick with the upper side hairless and dark and the underside a lighter color with hair.
Roots: Fusiform rootstock.
Blossoming Season: May – July
Life span: NA
Propagation: By seed.
Pods: Stand erect and are a brown to reddish color.
Seed Color: NA
Environment and Growth Requirements
Overhead Conditions: Partially shaded.
Precipitation: 35-60 in (89-153 cm) annually.
Soil Texture: Sandy to rocky.
Temperature: Can tolerate a minimum temperature of –10 to 0 Fahrenheit (-23 to -18 Celsius).
Work Cited: Monarchwatch.org, Plants.usda.gov, Zipcodezoo.com, dnr.state.oh.us, discoverlife.org, ozarkedgewildflowers.com, Arborday.org, Eduplace.com
Photos: Janet Lanza, Larry Stritch, Ina Warren