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Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa L.

 

Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderGentianalesGentians, coffee, gardenias, frangipani, many others
FamilyAsclepiadaceaeIncludes some herbs, twining shrubs, lianas, leafless stem succulents, rarely trees
GenusAsclepiasFor Asklepios, the Greek god of healing
Speciestuberosa“Tuberous,” referring to the presence of lumps or tubers on the roots

About plant names...

Butterfly milkweed is so named because it attracts butterflies—queen (Danaus plexippus) and monarch butterflies (Danaus gilippus). They lay eggs on the leaves, as a food source for the larvae when they hatch. In my opinion, though, butterfly milkweed should have been named for its color. Orange is a relatively rare flower color, and this orange is striking, practically fluorescent in its intensity. Between the flowers and the butterflies they attract, these plants are popular with gardeners.

Identification: Plants are 12-39" (30-100 cm) tall, with hairy stems and spirally arranged leaves. Leaves are lance-shaped (lanceolate), 1¾-4½" (5-12 cm) × ¾-1" (2-3 cm). Most milkweed stems and flowers produce a milky latex when cut, but the sap of this species is clear. Flowers are brilliant orange or yellow-orange, shaped very much like those of other milkweeds, in dense clusters 2-5" (5-12 cm) in size atop the stem. Each flower is about ⅜" (9.5 mm) in size, with with a five-pointed star and five petals that are bent back (reflexed). Flowers appear from May to September. Seed pods are spindle-shaped, covered with fine hairs, and 4-5" (10-12 cm) long. They open to reveal many seeds, each equipped with its own silken parachute.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Roots and all parts of this plant contain resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides that, in quantity, can cause vomiting, stupor, weakness, and spasms. (The name pleurisy root derives from its historical use by some North American Indians in treating pain and inflammation of pleurisy. It was also sometimes used as an expectorant, or for the treatment of other lung ailments.)

Online References:

Asclepias tuberosa at Illinois Wildflowers

Asclepias tuberosa on Missouriplants.com

Asclepias tuberosa at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert

Asclepias tuberosa on the USDA Plants Database

Asclepias tuberosa on Wikipedia

Asclepias tuberosa at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Asclepias tuberosa at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Asclepias tuberosa on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Asclepias tuberosa on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Asclepias tuberosa at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Asclepias tuberosa at Minnesota Wildflowers

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/21/2016 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

A cultivar, possibly 'Hello, Yellow' · 9/10/2014 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

A cultivar, possibly 'Hello, Yellow' · 9/10/2014 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 10 × 7" (25 × 16 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/10/2015 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 10 × 7" (25 × 16 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/10/2015 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/10/2015 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 18 Jul 2017.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

9/22/2013 · Squannacook River Wildlife Management Area, off route 119, Townsend, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (16 × 20 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/17/2017 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (14 × 10 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

6/22/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

6/22/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/17/2017 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/10/2015 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 15 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 6" (13 × 15 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

8/21/2016 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/17/2017 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root)

7/10/2015 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 15 cm)

Range: Zones 3-9:

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