Butterfly-weed - Asclepias tuberosa • ( Milkweed family - Asclepiadaceae)

 

Butterfly-weed - Asclepias tuberosa • ( Milkweed family - Asclepiadaceae) A variable milkweed. Stems hairy, not milky when broken. Seedpod spindle-shaped (4 - 5 in.) Plant 1- 2 ft. Fields, dry soil. The flower has 5 curved-back petals that form a cup that supports 5 small horns curving onto a central structure of 5 united stamens and a column of 5 pistils. Many in a terminal flat cluster.

 

 

 

The brilliant coloring of its flowers at the tip of a rough, hairy stem is what attracts many butterflies; hence its common name. Native Americans chewed the tough underground stem as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary complaints; hence another common name, Pleurisy Root. The young tender shoots were used by Native Americans as a green vegetable and some ate the young, spindle-shaped seed pods with buffalo meat.

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