Asclepias viridiflora (Green Milkweed)

Plant Info
Also known as: Green Comet Milkweed
Family:Apocynaceae (Dogbane)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry prairies, edges of woods, sandy soil
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: round

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in a densely packed round cluster about 2 inches across arising from a leaf axil. Individual flowers are pale green, ¼ inch across and ½ inch long with a 5-parted crown and 5 petals that pull straight back away from the crown, sometimes flaring a bit. Sometimes there is a purplish tint to the flowers. Each plant has 1 to a few clusters.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are variable depending on the habitat. In dryer soils, they tend to be quite narrow, over 6 inches long and to 1 inch wide, folding up lengthwise some from the central vein. In moister soils, they are less than 6 inches long, wider and more oval shaped with a pointed tip. Leaves may have scattered hairs and the edges are often a little wavy. Attachment is mostly opposite, though some leaves may be alternately attached. The main stem is covered in short matted hair and may be tinged purple. Plants may be erect but tends to lean over.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a smooth, spindle-shaped pod about 3 inches long that contains numerous flat brown seeds with a tuft of white hair to carry it off in the wind.


Green Milkweed resembles the rare Narrow-leaf Milkweed (Asclepias stenophylla) but has wider leaves and greener, more numerous flowers in tighter clusters with petals that only flare slightly. All Asclepias were formerly in family Asclepiadaceae but have been reassigned to Apocynaceae (Dogbane).

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Native Plant Society

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Paul - SAINT PAUL
on: 2014-07-05 10:09:33

I found one of these July 4 on a west-facing blufftop in Ottawa Bluffs nature preserve, in bloom.

Posted by: Brett - Otsego
on: 2014-07-19 18:03:51

My first time seeing these today along the sandy east bank of the Mississippi River in Clear Lake SNA.

Posted by: Rose - Cottonwood County
on: 2015-05-20 16:32:52

We have 38 acres of prairie that is registered with the state. Close to 30 years ago, I started documenting the plants with photos. I have photo documentation of green milkweed; if you would like me to e-mail my photos for confirmation, please let me know.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-05-21 19:26:34

Rose, the best way to update county records is to submit a specimen to the University of MN Bell Herbarium, then it will be there for posterity. Anyone can submit a specimen, not just the DNR or other agency. The Bell has collecting guidelines on their website.

Posted by: Dave J. - Stevens County
on: 2017-05-21 22:07:13

Iv'e found Green Milkweed on a bluff prairie on private land NE of Morris, overlooking the Pomme de Terre River.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.