Marcus, Joseph A.
Asclepias tuberosa L.
Butterflyweed, Butterfly milkweed, Orange milkweed, Pleurisy root
Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)
This bushy, 1 1/2-2 ft. perennial
is prized for its large, flat-topped clusters of bright-orange flowers. The leaves are mostly alternate,
1 1/2–2 1/4 inches long, pointed, and smooth on the edge. The yellow-orange to bright orange flower clusters, 2–5 inches across, are at the top of the flowering stem. The abundance of stiff, lance-shaped foliage provides a dark-green backdrop for the showy flower heads.
This showy plant is frequently grown from seed in home gardens. Its brilliant flowers attract butterflies. Because its tough root was chewed by the Indians as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments, Butterfly Weed
was given its other common name, Pleurisy Root. Although it is sometimes called Orange Milkweed, this species has no milky sap.
Image Gallery: 84 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Deciduous Size Notes:
1-1.5 feet Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
AL , AZ , AR , CA , CO , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
Ontario to Newfoundland; New England south to Florida; west to Texas; north through Colorado to Minnesota. Native Habitat:
Grows in prairies, open woods, canyons, and hillsides throughout most of the state, common in eastern two thirds of Texas, uncommon in the Hill Country. Plant in well-drained sand, loam, clay, or limestone. USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist , Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Drought Tolerance:
High Soil Description:
Prefers well-drained sandy soils. Tolerates drought. Conditions Comments:
has an interesting and unusual flower structure. Plant it among other mid-sized perennials. Inevitably butterfly weed
will get aphids; you can leave them for ladybugs to eat or spray the insects and foliage with soapy water. Aphids can also be removed by blasting the plant with a high pressure stream of water.
makes a delightful cut flower. Strong color, Blooms ornamental, Showy, Long-living, Perennial
garden. Use Medicinal:
Its tough root was chewed by First Nations People as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments explaining its other common name, pleurisy root. (Niering)
Fresh root chewed for bronchitis and other respiratory complaints. Tea of root for diarrhea. Use Other:
This showy plant is frequently grown from seed in home gardens. Warning:
POISONOUS PARTS: Roots, plant sap
from all parts. Not edible. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include vomiting, stupor, weakness, spasms. Toxic Principle: Resinoid, cardiac glycoside. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Conspicuous Flowers:
Hummingbirds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Grey Hairstreak, Monarch, Queens Nectar Source:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: