Asclepias tuberosa L. - Butterfly Milkweed


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Asclepias tuberosa - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Asclepiadaceae


Dry prairies, black oak savannas, meadows, especially in sandy soil.




Southern NH south to FL, west to MN, SD, AZ, and Mexico.


Herbaceous perennial to 30-70 cm tall. Leaves mostly alternate, linear to narrowly oblong-lanceolate. Flowers bright orange, in two or more terminal umbels. Fruit a smooth, slender follicle.


Flowers June to September

Wetland Indicator: Upland

An interesting habitat in NY is the calcareous soil of the Solvay Waste Beds, a byproduct of the Solvay process used to produce soda ash. This plant does not have milky sap, unlike most other members of this genus. The root has been used in folk medicine but is reportedly toxic.


Foster, S. and R.A. Caras. 1994. A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants: North America North of Mexico.

Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY. 244 pp.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




Michael Hough 2004