When does this bloom?
Where does this bloom?
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.
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.
Whilst most parts of this plant have been used as food, some caution is advised since large doses can cause diarrhoea and vomiting – see the notes above on toxicity. Flower buds – cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. The tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods – cooked. Harvested when 3 – 4 cm long and before the seed floss begins to form, they are very appetizing. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. In hot weather the flowers produce so much nectar that it crystallises out into small lumps which can be eaten like sweets, they are delicious
.A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark and is used in making twine, cloth etc. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a kapok substitute, used in life jackets or as a stuffing material. Very water repellent. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. The plant is a potential source of latex, used for making rubber.