Family – Asclepiadaceae, milkweed family
Genus, species – Asclepias tuberosa
Leaves are lance-shaped, 2 to 3 inches long, 1 inch wide. Edges of leaves are smooth (no teeth), often curl downward.
Flowers are bright orange or yellow with five petals. Flowers are arranged in large clusters at the end of a stem. Each cluster has 10 to 25 flowers. Flowers produce lots of nectar and are very attractive to butterflies, hence the name "butterfly weed."
Fruit is an erect pod, 3 to 6 inches long.
Seeds are “tufted” with white hairs at their tips.
Deep taproot. Doesn’t transplant easily.
Leaves, fruits, and stems are toxic. Caterpillars of monarch butterflies feed on and sequester toxins from milkweed plants.
The genus Asclepias is named for the Greek god of healing, Asklepios. The species name tuberosa is from the Latin and refers to the fact that the rhizomes of some plants have tubers.