Other names: pleurisy root, butterfly
weed, yellow milkweed, orange swallowwort, orangeroot,
whiteroot, Indian posy, windroot, Canada tuber, Canada
flux, chigger flower
Blooming time: June to September
Height: up to 2 1/2 ft.
Stems and Leaves: Butterfly Milkweed has
stout, simple or terminally branched stems that are
generally clumped. Rough-pointed leaves, up to 6 inches
long, alternate along the stem. The sap is a watery juice
rather than the typical milky sap of most milkweeds.
Flowers and Fruit: The flowers are normally
bright orange, but may be yellow. Many individual flowers
make up a head. It attracts insects, mainly larger flying
pollinators. Usually only a few of the numerous flowers
get pollinated, so a typical plant has only one or two
pods. The spindle-shaped pods contain many seeds. Each
seed has a silky plume which aids in dispersal. It is
easily established from seed, but transplanting is
difficult because the root is stout and deep.
Interesting facts: The root was once
considered a cure for pleurisy. It was listed by early
doctors as having many medicinal uses.
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Page last updated March 23, 2015
Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie- The Upper Midwest,
Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa;
A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Northeastern and
North-central North America, Roger Tory Peterson and
Photo by BarbMcGee - bjmcreations.com