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Most photos by Ann Grandy and Sally J.A.Finzel, unless otherwise noted to the left. Please ask for permission before using images.
Please note: These plants are slow to come up in the spring and we will not ship them until they show some signs of new growth. Seedlings (6-packs) may be shipped earlier. Mature plants may still be dormant if shipped with other plants earlier in the spring. They are one of the last wildflowers to "poke their heads" up from the earth!
Soil: Mesic (Medium) to Xeric (Dry)
Sun: Full to Part
Flowers: Each flower has 5 recurved petals around a central crown. They bloom in 2" clusters at the top of the plant.
Leaves: The leaves are 3-6" long, simple, alternate, lance-shaped, shiny green, smooth on top and soft underneath. They grow on a single, unbranched stalk.
Butterfly Weed has very showy orange flowers in mid-summer. They also have interesting and attractive seed pods late summer and into fall. These plants like a sandier well-drained soil and are a major source of food for the larval stage of the Monarch butterfly!
Medicinal Uses: Milkweeds can be toxic if not properly prepared. Butterfly Weed has been used by Native Americans to treat: snow blindness, diarrhea, swelling, sore throat, colic and snakebite. It was also used as a contraceptive and to increase milk production in nursing mothers. Early settlers used a tea made from the roots to treat lung aliments.
Food Uses: Roots, shoots, and immature flower buds and stems were eaten by several Native American tribes.
Other Uses: The primary use for Butterfly Weed and other members of the milkweed family was as fiber for cordage. In the fall, the plants are cut and split to remove the long fibers. The fibers are then twisted together to form string or yarn which is used in clothing or rope. It is often combined with the fiber from Indian Hemp.
More Info: This milkweed has clear sap, as opposed to the milky sap produced by the other members if the Milkweed family.
Name: The name Asclepias is from the name of the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios, while tuberosa describes the knobby root system.
Other Names: Orange Milkweed, Chigger Weed, Pleurisy Root