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Butterfly weed

Butterfly weed

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. tuberosa
Binomial name
Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa, also called Canada root, Chigger flower, Chiggerflower, Fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, Orange milkweed, Orange Swallow-wort, Pleurisy root, Silky Swallow-wort, Tuber root, Yellow milkweed, White-root, Windroot) is a species of milkweed native to eastern North America. It is a perennial plant growing to 0.6-2 m (1 -2 feet) tall, with clustered orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall. The leaves are spirally arranged, lanceolate, 5-12 cm long and 2-3 cm broad.

This plant favors dry, sand or gravel soil, but has also been reported on stream margins.

The common name comes from the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. Butterfly weed is also the larval food plant of the Queen butterfly.

Additional recommended knowledge



The plant looks similar to the Lanceolate milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), however the Butterfly weed is uniquely identified by the larger number of flowers and hairy stems that are not milky when broken. It is most commonly found in fields with dry soil.

Other common names

Canada-root, Chiggerflower, Indian posy, Orange-root, Orange swallowwort, Tuberroot, Whiteroot, Windroot, Yellow or Orange milkweed.

Subspecies indicated

  • Asclepias tuberosa interior, Central United States.
  • Asclepias tuberosa rolfsii (Rolfs Milkweed), Southeast United States.
  • Asclepias tuberosa tuberosa, Eastern United States.



  • Peterson, Roger Tory; Margaret McKenny (1968). A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-18325-1. 
  • Photo of a J.J. Audubon Plate Clay-Colored Sparrow perched atop Asclepias tuberosa
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Butterfly_weed". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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