Asclepias tuberosa
(Butterfly Milkweed)

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Common Names

Butterfly weed, chigger flower, orange milkweed, and pleurisy root, 

Latin Name

Asclepias tuberosa

Family

It is in the Apocynaceae, or dogbane, family.

Form

Butterfly milkweed is a a perennial wildflower that grows to a height of around three feet.  It generally grows upright, but may fall over and grow along the ground.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Leaves

The leaves are alternate and can be linear, oblanceolate or arrowhead-shaped in shape.  The margins are entire.  Some may have short stems, but most are sessile.  The leaves and stems are hairy.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Flowers

The bright orange flowers appear in early summer and fall.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Habitat

Butterfly milkweed grows in pinelands, sandhills, sunny open forests, dry fields and roadsides.

Native Range

Butterfly milkweed is native to the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, and WV.

Landscape Use

In the home landscape it grows in full sun to high shifting shade with average to dry, sandy soil.  Keep watered until the plant becomes established.  Once established they are drought tolerant and survive on natural rainfall.

Wildlife Uses

The flowers are a source of nectar for many insects and the foliage is a host plant for monarch, soldier and queen butterflies.

Propagation

Can be grown from seed.  They do not transplant well and generally do not survive the attempt.

I have these seeds for sale at my Ebay Store.

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