Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Frank Carl Picture MonarchGrown in OK Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) Asclepias tuberosa is a species of milkweed native to eastern North America. It is a perennial plant growing to 0.3–1 metre (1 ft 0 in–3 ft 3 in) 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. It requires full sun. It is commonly known as Butterfly Weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also the larval food plant of the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted. This showy plant is frequently grown from seed in home gardens. Its brilliant flowers attract butterflies. Because its tough root was chewed by the Indians as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments, Butterfly Weed was given its other common name, Pleurisy Root. Although it is sometimes called Orange Milkweed, this species has no milky sap. Butterfly Milkweed is grown from Ontario to Newfoundland; New England south to Florida; west to Texas; north through Colorado to Minnesota. It grows in usda mapprairies, open woods, canyons, and hillsides throughout most of the states and should be planted in well-drained sand, loam, clay, or limestone.

The beautiful monarch butterfly population is dwindling. People may have created this problem. Monarchs lay eggs on milkweed plants. The eggs develop into caterpillars that only eat milkweed.

However people think milkweed is bad so the amount available is shrinking.

The milkweed doesn’t smell good. When its seed pods mature, wind spreads the seeds. That spreads the milkweed.

This is good for monarchs but not the farmer who needs every inch of land to grow crops or the homeowner who wants a perfect lawn.

That may be why the monarch population has dropped by 80% since 1992. The milkweed habitat area has also shrunk by 80%.

Milkweed may be removed when people build homes and the community expands with new streets and businesses. Sometimes farmers spray their land to get more space for their crops.

Now some people who understand what is happening to the monarch population are trying to change that.

These people are called conservationists.

The conservationists are setting aside land and planting milkweed to create more habitat for the monarch. Some people plant a butterfly garden in their yard.

Some conservationists work with government agencies to protect land and educate citizens about the need to help monarchs get the food they need.

Oklahoma is part of the migration route for monarchs. Want to keep the monarchs fluttering through Oklahoma in spring and fall?

It’s easy. Plant milkweed. We, at Lorenz's, are committed to helping bring back the Monarch and are currently working with our state and local conservation districts and the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Department.  We offer a few different varieties of Milkweed that are specific to certain locations.  If you have questions concerning the current Monarch situation please give us a call at 580-822-3655.Grown in OK   [TABLE=55]

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