By May 20, 2017 Read More →

Wildflower Alert – Butterflyweed ……….

This bright orange wildflower, one of the milkweeds that grow in our area (Asclepias tuberosa), may be seen blooming along sunny and sandy roadsides. It is beginning to bloom now, and will continue on through the summer.  It has many narrow leaves and is the only milkweed in our area that has clear instead of milky sap.

 

It is used as a host plant (a plant that butterflies lay their eggs on so that when the eggs hatch the caterpillars will have the right kind of food) by Zebra Swallowtail, Queen, and Monarch butterflies.

 

This has become a popular garden plant and you can find it in nurseries that sell native plants. You can also order seed from the Florida Wildflower Growers Cooperative (floridawildflowers.com).

 

The plant can be bushy looking, and its branches spreading, reaching a height of around two and a half feet. The flowers grow in showy clusters at the ends of the branches. It gets its common name because so many butterflies and other pollinators like its nectar.

 

It has also been called Pleurisyroot because a tea brewed from its root was once (maybe not now) believed useful in treating asthma, bronchitis, and other lung infections.

 
Eleanor Dietrich, Florida Wildflower Foundation

 

 

 

 

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