orange milkweed

butterfly weed

North American plant (Asclepias tuberosa) of the milkweed family, a stout, rough-haired perennial with long horizontal roots. The leafy, erect, somewhat branching stem is about 1–3 ft (0.3–0.9 m) tall. In midsummer it bears numerous clusters of bright orange flowers. Unlike most milkweeds, it has a scanty milky juice. It is native to dry fields and is often planted in wild gardens or grown as a border plant.

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Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa, also called Canada root, Chigger flower, Chiggerflower, Fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, Orange milkweed, Orange Swallow-wort, Pleurisy root, Silky Swallow-wort, Tuber root, Yellow milkweed, White-root, Windroot) is a species of milkweed native to eastern North America. It is a perennial plant growing to 0.6-2 m (1 -2 feet) tall, with clustered orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall. The leaves are spirally arranged, lanceolate, 5-12 cm long and 2-3 cm broad.

This plant favors dry, sand or gravel soil, but has also been reported on stream margins.

The common name comes from the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. Butterfly weed is also the larval food plant of the Queen butterfly. The butterfly weed grows to be 1-3 feet long.

Identification

The plant looks similar to the Lanceolate milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), however the Butterfly weed is uniquely identified by the larger number of flowers and hairy stems that are not milky when broken. It is most commonly found in fields with dry soil.

Other common names

Canada-root, Chiggerflower, Indian posy, Orange-root, Orange swallowwort, Tuberroot, Whiteroot, Windroot, Yellow or Orange milkweed.

Subspecies indicated

  • Asclepias tuberosa interior, Central United States.
  • Asclepias tuberosa rolfsii (Rolfs Milkweed), Southeast United States.
  • Asclepias tuberosa tuberosa, Eastern United States.

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