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Asclepias Tuberosa

Information is courtesy of Magna Vista High School students.





The original name of this plant is the Asclepias tuberosa. The word Asclepias comes from the Greek god of medicine, and tuberosa means full of swelling or knobs referring to the enlarged root system. The butterfly weed was named by Linnaeus.


This herbaceous perennial is located in the eastern and southern parts of North America. It can grow up to 1 to 2.5 inches. Also, these leaves are 2.5 - to 3.5 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches across. They are linear - oblong to lanceolate - oblong in shape while the margins are entire. This plant is called the butterfly weed because it attracts butterflies. It has yellow/orange flowers, and it blooms between June to April. Usually several umbels of flowers develop from the upper stems and the axils of upper leaves. These umbels span 1-2.5 inches across, consisting of 8 to 25 flowers each; they are slightly dome shape and are often adjacent to one another. Each flower consists of five sepals, five petals, and five hoods with horns.


The butterfly milkweed or butterfly weed is native to every county in Virginia.


The plant was used by the First Nations People as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments. Fresh root was chewed for bronchitis and other respiratory complaints. Tea of its root has been used for diarrhea. This plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.


Apocynaceae Family

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