Is this our smallest milkweed? Regardless, Asclepias quadrifolia certainly is the earliest. And, unlike other milkweeds, this one is a woodland plant. Otherwise, it’s a typical milkweed — the flowers can’t be confused with any other genus. They are sought by butterflies, bumblebees, flies, and other insects for their nectar. The milky sap is meant to deter non-flying insects that are seeking the copious nectar, as well. Pollen? It hitches a ride on the unsuspecting insect’s leg, via saddlebag-shaped pollinia. Like other milkweeds, its foliage is eaten by Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
Beautiful Little Asclepias