ASCLEPIAS tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed) is a species of milkweed native to North America. It is a perennial plant that grows up to 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) tall and has a bushy growth habit. The leaves are lance-shaped, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, and are arranged in an alternate pattern along the stem. They are a grayish-green color and have a slightly fuzzy texture.
Butterfly milkweed is valued for its yellow to orange to bright orange clusters of flowers. The bright color of flowers attracts many butterflies. It is grown in home gardens. It has low water requirements and can tolerate drought. Besides its beauty, it has been used in the cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments. Although it belongs to milkweed family, but it has no milk sap.
The flowers of Butterfly Milkweed are bright orange or yellow-orange in color and grow in clusters at the top of the stems. They are shaped like a shallow bowl, with five petals that curve backwards. The flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer and are an important nectar source for many species of butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
After the flowers have bloomed, Butterfly Milkweed produces distinctive seed pods that are about 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) long and 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) wide. The pods are narrow and cylindrical in shape and are filled with numerous flat, brown seeds that are attached to a silky, white fluff. When the pods mature, they split open to release the seeds, which are dispersed by the wind.
Butterfly Milkweed is a popular plant in gardens and natural areas because of its bright, showy flowers and its importance in supporting pollinators. It is also an important host plant for the monarch butterfly, which lays its eggs on the leaves. The larvae then feed on the leaves before pupating and emerging as adult butterflies.
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Scientific name: Asclepias tuberosa
Common name: Butterfly milkweed
Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
Native range: Eastern and southern United States
Full growth height: 3 feet
Width in across: 12 to 24 inches
Exposure: Full sun
Blooming season: June to August
Pollinators: Butterflies and insects
Flower color: Yellow/orange
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
Water requirement: Dry to medium
Soil type: Sandy soil, gravel, clay
Zones: 3 to 9