Colorado Plant Database

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BUTTERFLY WEED - Asclepias tuberosa

IMAGE
Copyright:Al Schneider. Southwest Colorado Wildflowers, www.swcoloradowildflowers.com

IDENTIFICATION
Common Name: BUTTERFLY WEED
Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa
Family: Milkweed - Asclepiadaceae
Species Characteristics: found in clumps with think tuberous roots and a stout, rough, hairy stem; five green sepals hidden by 0.5 inch length orange petals that are usually darker than horned hoods; fruit pod-like, erect, to five inches long and smooth; leaves to 4.5 inches long, fuzzy, with undulating margins.
Mature Height: 1 to 3 feet.
Mature Spread: 1 to 2 feet.
Flower Color: orange
Flower Cluster: cyme (branched flower cluster with central flower first blooming)
Fruit Type: follicle (typically dry fruit derived from a single carpel - female organ - that opens on one side).
Leaf Type: simple (not divided into similar parts), alternate (one leaf per node - joint where the leaf joins the stem).
Leaf/Leaflet Shape: lanceolate (lance-shaped).
ECOLOGY
Origin: native
Growth Form: herbaceous
Life Cycle: perennial
Class: angiosperm (plant with covered seed).
SubClass: dicot (plants with two seed leaves and netted leaf veins).
Season of Bloom: late spring to early fall (May - Sep.).
Life Zone: foothills
Habitat: upland woods and sandy sites at 4,500 to 7,500 feet elevation.
Eco. Relationships: pollinated by bumblebees, honeybees, native bees, wasps, and butterflies; flowers temporarily trap insects for pollination; very important for monarch butterfly caterpillars.

WEED MANAGEMENT

LANDSCAPING
Landscaping Use: border, naturalized garden, rock or meadow garden, summer accent, butterfly garden.
Moisture Requirement: drought tolerant, requires some water during summer.
Light Requirement: full sun to partial shade.
Soil Requirement: sandy, well-drained.

HUMAN CONNECTIONS
Toxicity: as with other members of the milkweed family, this plant contains the characteristic milky sap which is toxic to livestock.
Edibilty: edible flowers, fruits, leaves, stems, and roots.
Other Uses: important Native American medicinal plant.

Version: 2.7.0      Release Date: January 2014       ©2010 Jefferson County ITS

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