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Butterfly Weed
Asclepias tuberose

Type Categories Useful Parts


Asclepiadaceae Family

Asclepias Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Pleurisy Root, wind root, Canada root, silkweed, orange swallow wort, tuber root, white root, flux root, asclepias, colic root, orange milkweed


Photots taken in Maryland and Delaware, I have taken photos in

Texas of this plant
Range:From S. Ontario and New York to Minnesota, south to Florida and Colorado

Physical Description
The root is spindle-shaped, large, branching, white, and fleshy with a knotted crown, it sends up several erect, stout, round and hairy stems, growing from 1 to 3 feet high. Stems are branched near the top and have corymbs or umbels of many deep yellow to dark orange, or almost red, flowers. The leaves grow closely all the way up the stem and are hairy, unserrated, lance shaped, alternate, sessile and dark green on top, lighter beneath.
Flowers bloom usually from June to September, followed in the fall by seed pods from 4 to 5 inches long containing the seeds with their long silky hairs or floss. This plant, unlike the other milkweeds, contains little or no milky juice.

General Information

In colonial America, dried leaves of butterfly weed and skunk cabbage were made into a tea to treat chest inflammations thus giving butterfly weed an alternative name: pleurisy root. Pleurisy root was listed in the American Pharmacopoeia and the National Formulary until 1936.
The seed pods are edible, cooked when young, harvest them before the seed floss forms. Harvest flowers in bloom, also edible cooked, said to taste like sweet peas. Leaves and new buds are edible cooked like spinach.
Native Americans harvested fibers from the dried stems that were made into ropes and used in weaving cloth.
The Asclepias were named for Aesculapius, who is said to have learned his knowledge of healing from an apprenticeship to Cheiron, the centaur who’s herbal and medical skills came directly from Apollo.

Butterfly Weed
Yellow form

Butterfly Weed
Orange form

Comment: Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberose

Page Posts: 1

May 28, 2010
Here's one I saw down in Brazil.
  Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed
Butterfly Weed
Extracts in herbalism and by Native Americans were used as an expectorant for wet coughs and other pulmonary ailments. The plant looks similar to the Lanceolate Milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), but i

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