Butterfly Weed

The entire blooming flower head of the Butterf...
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Botanical Name:Asclepias tuberosa
Family: Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Common Name: Butterfly Weed,Butterfly Milkweed
Genus: Asclepias (ass-KLE-pee-us) (Info)
Species: tuberosa (too-ber-OH-suh) (Info)
Habitat:Dry open areas.Native  to Eastern and southern United States

Description:
It is a herbaceous perennial which can reach 64cm in height (25inches) .The stem is hairy and branches near the top forming several flower heads. The juice is milky.Leaves are evergreen and  colorful  and fragrant.The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 13cm in length (5inches). Each narrow, firm leaf is entire.The flowers have 5 Regular Parts and are up to 1cm wide (0.4 inches). They are bright orange. Blooms first appear in early summer and continue into late summer. The corolla reflexed exposing the five erect hoods, the horn is small.Fruits are showy and are edible.A pod filled with tiny seeds each with a tuff of silky hairs which become airborne.


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Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Historical Lore: The pods of milkweeds may be eaten if boiled twice discarding the first water to remove the bitter taste.

Medical Uses: Listed in the U. S. Pharmacopeia in the 19th century the root was once widely used for lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis. It was made into a tea or sometimes eaten raw. Large doses of the root were sometimes used as a purgative. The root was also applied to sores.

Omaha Indians ate the raw root to treat bronchitis and taught the pioneers to do the same. It is an expectorant; it promotes coughing that raises phlegm. It also contains cardiac glycosides and an estrogen-like substance. It is a component of Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound (1875 to 1960) advertised for use in “womb trouble, sick headache, and nervous breakdowns”.

Warning: Contains cardiac glycosides which are toxic in large amounts.Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/73/
http://www.mobot.org/GARDENINGHELP/PLANTFINDER/Plant.asp?code=B490
http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H166.htm
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

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