Asclepias ovalifolia (Oval-leaf Milkweed)
|Also known as:||Dwarf Milkweed|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry sandy soil, prairies, open woods, roadsides|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||10 to 24 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.
Flowers are about ¼ inch across and ½ inch or less tall, in a convex cluster typically under 2 inches wide. A flower has 5 petals spreading out and/or down that are white with pale green or pinkish purple tones, and 5 hoods and horns that are clear white. The hoods are about twice as tall as the center column. The entire flower fades to yellow with age. A cluster is at the top of the plant, with usually 1 or 2 clusters emerging from upper leaf axils.
Leaves and stem:
As one of its common names implies the opposite leaves are decidedly oval shaped, a little broader at the base and narrowing at the tip and only 1 to 1½ inches wide and 2 to 3 inches long, on leaf stems about ¼ inch long. The main stem is slender but erect, unbranched with plants occuring in groups but emerging stems are singular. Entire plant covered in fine downy hairs.
This milkweed is not uncommon but its small stature can make it difficult to spot until you realize where to look for it. It appears to easily re-colonize road margins in sandy soil types. Generally not found in the Arrowhead it can be found in most other areas of the state. All Asclepias were formerly in family Asclepiadaceae but have been reassigned to Apocynaceae (Dogbane).
Please visit our sponsors
Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
Photos by K. Chayka taken along Hwy 64 north of Leader, Cass County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at Cedar Creek Natural History Center and various state highway road rights-of-way in Hubbard and Cass counties
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?