Asclepias tuberosa or Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa  or Butterfly Milkweed is a perennial that blooms May through September in zones 4-9. It spends these months attracting and feeding butterflies. Including the gorgeous Queen and Monarch butterflies.

 

Physical Characteristics  honey bee on butterfly milkweed

 

Orange  Milkweed is one of 15  milkweed species native to Missouri. It grows 18 to 24 inches tall, with a 24 inch spread. The hairy dark green stems and foliage provide wonderful contrast to the bright orange heads. The vibrant orange flowers also make it stand out against the fields and open rocky areas that it prefers to grow in.

 

Other Common Names

 

Butterfly Milkweed   gran-canaria

Orange Milkweed

Pleurisy Root

Chigger Flower

 

This small bush like flower grows a very large tap root. The root makes transplanting this plant very difficult, so it is better to propagate from a seed. The root also gives the plant the name Pleurisy Root. Native Americans chewed the tough root to help with a variety of pulmonary  ailments or inflammation of the chest and lungs. This helps with things like bronchitis, allergies and other respiratory problems.

 

Save the Monarch    caterpillar-monarch

 

Yep I am sure you have heard somewhere by now about this. The Monarch species is diminishing and milkweed may be the cure. So here we go with milkweed and the Monarchs.

 

Orange Milkweed is most commonly known for attracting hummingbirds and the diminishing Monarch butterfly. It is a plentiful source of nectar for the Monarch. There is a chemical in native milkweed that is thought to be the source of the butterfly’s toxic and bitter tasting properties. Milkweed is also the only plant that Monarchs lay their larvae in. A study done earlier this year in 2016 has seen a ten fold drop in the number of Monarch Butterflies over the past decade. At this rate scientist are estimating a high probability that they could go extinct in the next twenty years. Propagating and promoting the native species of milkweed that attract them and feed their young  may very well help bring the Monarch back from their decline for future generations to enjoy.          Asclepias tuberosa or Orange Milkweed

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