Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly weedButterfly weed (Ascelpias tuberosa) displays beautiful orange flowers during summer months.  The flower color ranges from a strong red-orange through orange and toward a milder yellow-orange.  This plant grows throughout North America in dry, sunny locations.

The inflorescence grows as an umbel of flowers.

Butterfly weedButterfly weed’s leaves are linear with a prominent central vein.  They grow alternately along a hairy stem.

Butterfly weedAt any single point in time during the summer, the plant may have fresh blossoms, dying flowers and — if all goes well — the beginning of a seed pod.

Butterfly weedThe hairy seed pod grows, expands and contains developing seeds for about six weeks.

Butterfly weedWhen the seeds mature, the seed pod splits open and releases the seeds with their silken parachutes.

Butterfly weedWatch this video to hear my story of observing Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) for five years as I learned to identify it, to discover how the flowers become fertilized and to find the few seed pods which may develop for any plant.

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(Here’s the same video as posted on YouTube.)

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2 Responses to Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

  1. CORALIE DOSSENBACH says:

    Is any part edible?

    • Angelyn says:

      I am not aware of its edibility. However, a quick Internet search indicates that it may be edible as well as medicinal. I am not a good resource for plant edibility. When doing your research, choose one or more people with experience in the arena of eating “wild foods.”

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