Asclepias verticillata also known as the whorled milkweed by Jake


Asclepias verticillata flower and plant. ©  1sagebrush24

Lakota name: Waĥpẻ tiŋpsila
sound iconListen to Lakota Plant Name: waĥpé tiŋ'psila

Scientific name: Asclepias verticillata

Common name: Whorled milkweed

Lakota medicinal uses: Lakota mothers use it when they don't have milk.

Toxicity: Very poisonous to livestock but is unpalatable and rarely consumed. It can cause problems when fed in hay.

Secondary compounds: The plant produces substances called cardenolides.  A study says that the more cardenolides that you have in the trichomes (the hairs on the leaf) the better chance you have of reducing attacks by aphids, Aphis nerii.

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Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

Molecular structure of a cardenolide © 1sagebrush24

Description: Whorled milkweed is a single or sparingly stemmed un-branched perennial, commonly over 2 feet tall. The narrow linear leaves are whorled along the stem. Small greenish-white flowers occur in flat-topped clusters on the upper part of the stem. Leaf base clasping the stem, strictly glabrous, sessile, ovate blades. Flowers have corolla lobes 4-5 mm long with a greenish-white color.

Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

Asclepias verticillata. Left: leaves and flowers © . Right: close-up of flowers © Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, United States.

Similar species: Carolina milkweed, Mexican milkweed

Flowering period: June to September

Distribution: It is located in all states except:  Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Habitat: Prairies, pastures, open woods, roadsides, and railroads.


Agrawal, A. A. 2004. Plant defense and density dependence in the population growth of herbivores. American Naturalist 164(1):113-120.

About This Page

Author: 1sagebrush24
Classroom Project: Medicinal Plants of the Lakota Sioux
Lead-Deadwood High School
Lead, South Dakota United States

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to , Lead-Deadwood High School

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