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Asclepias tuberosa

Object Details

See more items in
Smithsonian Gardens Display Collection
On Display
Anacostia Community Museum
Accession Number
2021-0496A
Description
A. tuberosa is one of the showiest milkweeds, and an excellent native wildflower for gardens. Despite being a milkweed, it does not have the characteristic milky sap of others of this genus. While it is an excellent nectar and food source for many birds and caterpillars, it is a second choice for monarch butterfly caterpillars. If another milkweed is around these caterpillars will ignore A. tuberosa, because its lack of milky sap means it does not have as many of the toxins they are after. This plant does well in poor and dry soils and establishes quickly. Because of its long taproot, once it is established, it will not thrive if moved.
Hardiness
-40 - 30 F
Attracts
Bees, birds, butterflies for nectar. Leaves are a food source for dogbane tiger moth, grey hairstreak butterfly, monarch butterfly, milkweed tussock moth, queen butterfly, and unexpected cycnia moth larvae.
Bloom Time
June to August
Medicinal / Pharmaceutical
Root was used by various Native American tribes to treat lung infections.
Provenance
From a cultivated plant not of known wild origin
Topic
Display Gardens
Living Collections
Range
SE Canada, USA to N Mexico
Habitat
Open woods, prairies, fields, roadsides
Life Form
Herbaceous perennial
Bloom Characteristics
Bright orange umbles are 2-5" (5-12.7 cm) across. Plants from west of the 100th meridian tend to have yellow flowers.
Foliage Characteristics
Lance shaped, alternate, green leaves
Fruit Characteristics
Spindle shaped seed pods are 3-6" (7.6-15.25 cm) long, hairy, and dehisce when ripe to reveal seeds covered in silky white hair. Good for use in dried flower arrangments.
Plant Size
12-30" tall by 12-18" wide (30-76 x 30-45 cm)
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Common Name
Butterfly weed
Butterfly milkweed
Chigger flower
Pleurisy root
Group
[vascular plants]
Class
Equisetopsida
Subclass
Magnoliidae
Superorder
Asteranae
Order
Gentianales
Family
Apocynaceae
Genus
Asclepias
Species
tuberosa
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ax7962ef224-53e5-4d33-9d4a-8cb2102039ff
Record ID
ofeo-sg_2021-0496A
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