Redring Milkweed,  Asclepias variegata

The species name describes the bicolored flowers, which are showy in masses. The white milkweed thrives in open upland forests and woodland edge habitats,  sandy open ground, ravine bottoms, low woods, slopes, ridges, and roadsides.

This is the milkweed if you are planting in full sun to light shade in dry clay, loam, or rocky soil.  

A low maintenance plant, it reaches a mature size of 1 to 3 feet tall and wide.  The most rapid growth and development of this plant occur during the spring after the danger of hard frost has passed. The leaves are opposite with a smooth margin and pale underside. Small, white flowers dotted with purple in the center form a large, round, showy cluster that blooms in May-July. One or two large wart-like pods with fluffy wind-dispersed seeds mature in the late summer. It does best in dry or rocky woods.   

The copious amount of nectar in the showy flowers attracts butterflies including Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterflies, skippers, and possibly moths. Other likely floral visitors include various long-tongued bees and wasps.  Redring milkweed is not considered an important food plant for Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpillars but adult Monarch butterflies feed on nectar from all species of milkweeds. The bitter white sap of the foliage contains toxic cardiac glycosides so it is avoided by mammalian herbivores. Very attractive to honey bees, native bees, and bumble bees.

This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer!

Seeds for this plant were obtained near Maysville, NC. 

Photo credit - Pauline Singleton. CC BY-NC 4.0

Sources:,, other authoritative resources and personal experience.