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Types of Milkweed Native to Missouri

Types of Milkweed Native to Missouri

Missouri, known for its diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity, serves as a haven for various plant and animal species. Among its treasures are the native milkweed plants, essential for the survival of the iconic monarch butterflies.

Milkweed is a favorite nectar plant for all sorts of pollinators, and the only host plant for the monarch caterpillar.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, there are 22 species of milkweed found in Missouri.

Types of milkweed native to Missouri: Learn about Missouri's native milkweed species

Types of Milkweed Native to Missouri

These milkweed species have been found to grow naturally in Missouri and would be a great addition to any butterfly or pollinator garden.

Asclepias (milkweeds; 17 species)

  • Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
  • Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora)
  • Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
  • Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii var. pringlei)
  • Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii var. sullivantii)
  • Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)
  • Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
  • Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis)
  • Tall Green Milkweed (Asclepias hirtella)
  • White Milkweed (Asclepias variegata)
  • Fourleaf Milkweed (Asclepias quadrifolia)
  • Slimleaf Milkweed (Asclepias stenophylla)
  • Green Comet Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora)
  • Mead’s Milkweed (Asclepias meadii)

Cynanchum (2 species; sand vine is the most common)

  • Honeyvine, Sand Vine, Climbing Milkweed: (Cynanchum laeve)
  • Black Swallow-wort (Cynanchum louiseae)

Gonolobus (1 species)

  • Anglepod (Gonolobus suberosus)

Matelea (climbing milkweeds; 2 species)

  • Climbing Milkweed/Oldfield Milkvine (Matelea decipiens)
  • Climbing MIlkweed (Matelea baldwyniana)

In Missouri, native milkweeds serve as pillars of biodiversity, supporting monarch butterflies, pollinators, and countless other species.

By cultivating these essential plants in gardens, parks, and natural areas, residents can contribute to monarch conservation efforts and help safeguard the state’s natural heritage for generations to come.

If you have a correction to this list, please let us know in the comments. Native plant lists are conflicting and ever-changing across online resources. We do our best to provide up-to-date and accurate information.


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Missouri Botanical Garden
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