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This non-showy plant is unlikely to receive favor from the mass market in horticulture, but it is nonetheless quite interesting to examine. This milkweed species is rather variable across different localities; there is a variety with narrow leaves that occurs in sandy areas near Lake Michigan. Short Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora) can be distinguished from many species of milkweeds by its nodding umbels of greenish flowers. The rare Mead's Milkweed (Asclepias meadii) has this characteristic, but its flowers are more wide (about 6 mm. across) and the hoods of its flowers have horns. Another milkweed species, Tall Green Milkweed (Asclepias hirtella), produces nodding umbels of greenish flowers, but its umbels are more fully globoid in shape, and its leaves are usually more linear and narrow than those of Short Green Milkweed.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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