The milkweed plant (Asclepias spp.) plays a critical role in the monarch life cycle. Each spring Monarchs move across the United States, laying eggs on native milkweed, the only plant that serves as food for newly hatched monarch caterpillars.
Butterfly Milkweed, also known as Butterflyweed, Orange milkweed and Pleurisy root is a bushy, 1 1/2-2 ft. perennial prized for its large, flat-topped clusters of bright-orange flowers that typically bloom May through September. It is native across much of the US, with the exception of the Northwestern states. Click to see its habitat map here.
This showy milkweed is often grown in home gardens because its brilliant flowers attract butterflies and as a colorful and tough landscaping plant. Its tough root was chewed by the Indians as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments, giving its other common name, Pleurisy Root. Although it is sometimes called Orange Milkweed, it has no milky sap.
Want better germination, or can't wait to plant your Milkweed seed? Our friends at Painted Lady Vineyard and The Xerces Society have provided these detailed instructions to cold soak and stratify your milkweed seeds to get better and faster germination! Milkweed Seed Germination Procedures has all the details.
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