Butterfly Weed

lorilee

Sumner, United States

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Artist's Description

Butterfly Weed along a rural northeast Iowa road in a ditch. USA

Asclepias tuberosa L.
Butterflyweed, Butterfly milkweed, Orange milkweed, Pleurisy root
Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

This bushy, 1 1/2-2 ft. perennial is prized for its large, flat-topped clusters of bright-orange flowers. The leaves are mostly alternate, 1 1/2–2 1/4 inches long, pointed, and smooth on the edge. The yellow-orange to bright orange flower clusters, 2–5 inches across, are at the top of the flowering stem. The abundance of stiff, lance-shaped foliage provides a dark-green backdrop for the showy flower heads.

This showy plant is frequently grown from seed in home gardens. Its brilliant flowers attract butterflies. Because its tough root was chewed by the Indians as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments, Butterfly Weed was given its other common name, Pleurisy Root. Although it is sometimes called Orange Milkweed, this species has no milky sap.

Artwork Comments

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