The dwarf milkweed (Asclepias opvalifolia) is a rare plant found in the prairies of North America. It has an erect, unbranched central stem that is light green to brown and is lightly covered in short hairs. The oval-shaped leaves, which give this species its alternative common name of ‘oval-leaved milkweed’, are arranged in opposite pairs. The leaf blades are five to eight centimetres in length, have smooth margins and are green and hairless on the upper surface, but pale green and hairy on the lower surface (2) (3).
The central stem of the dwarf milkweed terminates in a dome-shaped umbel, which consists of 8 to 24 beautiful greenish-white flowers. Each flower is borne on a short stalk, and comprises a central column surrounded by inward-curving, white or cream petals (2) (3).
The seed pods of the dwarf milkweed stand erect at maturity and are pointed at both ends. The seeds bear a tuft of long, tan-coloured hairs (3).