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Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Host Plant for: Monarch, Gray Hairsteak, and Queen butterflies, and Milkweed Tussock Moth

Nectar Plant: Bees and Wasps and many other butterflies

Flower Color: Orange/Yellow

Growth Habit: Herbaceous plant that grows to 1-2 feet tall

Range in North America: All of North America except northwest

Exposure: Full sun, but can tolerate partial shade

Hardiness: Zones 3a-9a

Soil Requirements: Dry to medium soil with good drainage

Butterfly Milkweed, Chiggerflower Indian Paintbrush, Pleurisy Root, Chieger Flower, Orange Milkweed

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), a member of the Apocynaceae (Dogbane Family), is a herbaceous perennial that grows to 3 feet tall and blooms in the spring and summer with orange/yellow flowers.  Here at McMullen House this plant seems to be favored by rabbits.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Weed – Laura Perlick, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)

Queen Butterfly – Insects Unlocked, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

Gray Hairstreak – ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Milkweed Tussock Moth (Euchaetes egle)

Milkweed Tussock Moth – Patrick Coin (Patrick Coin), CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Butterfly Weed is a nectar plant for bees, wasps, and other butterflies.

Butterfly Weed is often found in open areas such as fields, open woods, roadsides, and prairies.  It is native to most of North America, except for the northwest.

Native Americans used to chew the roots of this plant for pleurisy, hence the reason for one of the alternate names.  This plant was also the 1985 Wildflower of the Year in North Carolina (NC Extension Gardener).  The species name refers to the roots (Missouri Botanical Garden).


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