Thursday, September 2, 2010

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Asclepias tuberosa is known by the common names Butterfly Milkweed, Common Butterflyweed, Pleurisy Root, Wind Root. There are two species that produce bright red flowers: Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed) and Asclepias lanceolata (Fewflowered Milkweed). Asclepias tuberosa grows widely throughout Georgia while Asclepias lanceolata grows only on the coastal plain.

Young plants

Young plants grow as single stems. These bloom.

The leaf arrangement; leaves of Asclepias tuberosa are alternate.

Butterfly Milkweed Bush

The plant sprouts in mid April.

The plant will grow to its maximum size for the season by mid May. This plant is mature and stands about 18 to 24 inches high.

The plant will be in full bloom by early June and flowers last for several weeks.

The flowers start to develop in early May.

In mid May.

In late May.

In early June.

Close up of an individual flowerlet.

Although these are called Butterfly Milkweed, we don’t see many butterflies at this bush which is an open field far from other flowers. Wasps and bees are the most frequent visitors to this plant

As the flowers age, the sepals bend back and hang down.

Asclepias tuberosa
(Butterfly Milkweed) is native to the United States and Canada.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed)

- University of North Carolina Herbarium:

- Asclepias tuberosa

- Asclepias lanceolata

Identification resources:
Southeastern Flora
- Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Fewflowered Milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata)
Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia

- Asclepias tuberosa
- Asclepias lanceolata Butterfly Weed

Related posts:
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index

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