Asclepias tuberosa

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Asclepias tuberosa
Asclepias tuberosa interior.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Asclepias
Species:
A. tuberosa
Binomial name
Asclepias tuberosa
Synonyms[1]
  • Acerates decumbens Decne.
  • Asclepias decumbens L.
  • Asclepias elliptica Raf.
  • Asclepias lutea Raf. nom. illeg.
  • Asclepias revoluta Raf.
  • Asclepias rolfsii Britton ex Vail

Asclepias tuberosa, the butterfly weed, is a species of milkweed native to eastern and southwestern North America.[2] 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.[3] It is also a larval food plant of the queen and monarch butterflies, as well as the dogbane tiger moth, milkweed tussock moth, and the unexpected cycnia.[3][4]

Because of its rough leaves, A. tuberosa is not a preferred host plant of the monarch butterfly but caterpillars can be reared on it successfully.[5] Further, it is one of the very lowest Asclepias species in cardenolide content, making it a poor source of protection from bird predation and parasite virulence and perhaps contributing to its lack of attractiveness to egg-laying monarchs.[6]

Description[edit]

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 autumn. The leaves are spirally arranged, lanceolate, 5–12 cm (2" to 5") long, and 2–3 cm (about 1") broad.

Some wild plants have been reported to have orange flowers that are very reddish. It is uncertain if this is due to soil mineral content, ecotype genetic differentiation, or both. A cultivar, "Hello Yellow", typically has more yellowish flowers than ordinary examples of this plant.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

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

Identification[edit]

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

Propagation[edit]

Most easily propagated by seed. The primary pollinators are bees and wasps, rather than butterflies.[7] Sown outdoors after frost, a plant will flower and produce seed in the third year. It is difficult to transplant once established, as it has a deep, woody taproot.[8][9]

Monarch Watch provides information on rearing monarchs and their host plants.[10] Efforts to increase monarch butterfly populations by establishing butterfly gardens and monarch migratory "waystations" require particular attention to the target species' food preferences and population cycles, as well to the conditions needed to propagate and maintain their food plants.[11] For example, the seeds of A. tuberosa and some other milkweeds often need periods of cold treatment (cold stratification) before they will germinate.[12]

To protect seeds from washing away during heavy rains and from seed–eating birds, one can cover the seeds with a light fabric or with an 0.5 in (13 mm) layer of straw mulch.[13] However, mulch acts as an insulator. Thicker layers of mulch can prevent seeds from germinating if they prevent soil temperatures from rising enough when winter ends. Further, few seedlings can push through a thick layer of mulch.[14]

In cultivation in the greenhouse, plants can easily be grown from seed to flowering in as little as three to six months.

Subspecies[edit]

  • Asclepias tuberosa subsp. interior – (Central United States, Ontario and Quebec[15])
  • Asclepias tuberosa subsp. rolfsii – Rolfs milkweed (Southeastern United States)
  • Asclepias tuberosa subsp. tuberosa – (Eastern United States)

Common names[edit]

Common names include butterfly weed,[16] Canada root, chieger flower,[16] chiggerflower, fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, orange milkweed, orange root,[17] orange Swallow-wort, pleurisy root,[16] silky swallow-wort, tuber root, yellow milkweed, white-root, windroot, butterfly love, butterflyweed, and butterfly milkweed.[18]

Toxicity and uses[edit]

The plant contains toxic glycosides, alkaloids and resinoids. These can cause weakness, seizures and corneal injuries.[19]

Native Americans and European pioneers used the boiled roots to treat diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.[20] The young seed pods were used as food after being boiled in several changes of water.[20] The seed pod down was spun and used to make candle wicks.[20]

Use of the plant is contraindicated in pregnancy, during lactation or with infants due to its toxins, which include resinoids and pregnanes.[21] Because monarch butterflies do not favor it when reproducing, it is not as suitable for use in butterfly gardens and monarch waysides as are other milkweed species.[5][6]

Gallery[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Asclepias tuberosa". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ (1) "Query Page". BONAP’s Taxonomic Data Center (TDC): The Biota of North America Program: North American Vascular Flora.
    (2) Stevens, Michelle. "Plant guide for Butterfly Milkweed: Asclepias tuberosa L." (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service: National Plant Data Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 9, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
    (3) Stritch, Larry. "Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa L.)". Plant of the Week. United States Department of Agriculture: United States Forest Service. Archived from the original on March 27, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  3. ^ a b (1) Stevens, Michelle. "Plant guide for Butterfly Milkweed: Asclepias tuberosa L." (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service: National Plant Data Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 9, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021. Milkweed species are attractive to many insect species, including the large milkweed bug, common milkweed bug, red milkweed beetle, blue milkweed beetle, and bees.
    (2) Mader, Eric; Shepherd, Mathew; Vaughan, Mace; Black, Scott Hoffman; LeBuhn, Gretchen (2011). Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies: The Xerces Society guide. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. p. 291. ISBN 9781603427470. LCCN 2010043054. OCLC 776997073. Retrieved July 7, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Schillo, Rebecca (2011). Cummings, Nina (ed.). "Native Landscaping Takes Root in Chicago". In the Field. The Field Museum: 13.
  5. ^ a b Gomez, Tony. "Asclepias Tuberosa: Butterfly Weed for Monarchs and More". Monarch Butterfly Garden. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2020. Rough leaves for monarch caterpillars, not typically a heavily used host plant.
  6. ^ a b (1) "Milkweeds (mostly Asclepias spp.)". Alonso Abugattas Shares Native Plant Picks for Wildlife. Mid-Atlantic Gardener. 2016. Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2020. And if you have hot, dry conditions in your yard, try Butterflyweed (A. tuberosa). .... It’s the least favored by Monarch caterpillars because it has very little toxin (cardiac glycosides) in its leaves.
    (2) Abugattas, Alonzo (January 3, 2017). "Monarch Way Stations". Capital Naturalist. Archived from the original on June 5, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2017 – via Blogger. (A. tuberosa) is the least favored by monarch caterpillars .... because it has very little toxin (cardiac glycosides) in its leaves, .....
    (3) "Butterfly Weed: Asclepias tuberosa" (PDF). Becker County, Minnesota: Becker Soil and Water Conservation District. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2020. Unlike other milkweeds, this plant has a clear sap, and the level of toxic cardiac glycosides is consistently low (although other toxic compounds may be present)..
    (4) Mikkelsen, Lauge Hjorth; Hamoudi, Hassan; Altuntas Gül, Cigdem; Heegaard, Steffen (2017). "Corneal Toxicity Following Exposure to Asclepias tuberosa". The Open Ophthalmology Journal. Bentham Science Publishers. 11: 1–4. doi:10.2174/1874364101711010001. PMC 5362972. PMID 28400886. The latex of A. tuberosa seems to be different from other members of the Asclepias family due to the fact that even though cardenolides are normally considered present in Asclepias species, these cardenolides have not been found in A. tuberosa. Instead some unique pregnane glycosides are found in A. tuberosa.
    (5) Warashina, Tsutomu; Noro, Tadataka (February 2010). "8,12;8,20-Diepoxy-8,14-secopregnane Glycosides from the Aerial Parts of Asclepias tuberosa". Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. 58 (2): 172–179. doi:10.1248/cpb.58.172. PMID 20118575. Retrieved September 11, 2020. Though cardenolides are considered to be characteristic constituents of Asclepias spp. together with pregnane glycosides, we could find no cardenolides in the more hydrophobic fraction of the methanol extract of the aerial parts of A. tuberosa, the same as previously.
    (6) Pocius, Victoria M.; Debinski, Diane M.; Pleasants, John M.; Bidne, Keith G.; Hellmich, Richard L. (January 8, 2018). "Monarch butterflies do not place all of their eggs in one basket: oviposition on nine Midwestern milkweed species". Ecosphere. Ecological Society of America (ESA). 9 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2064. Retrieved July 6, 2021 – via Wiley Online Library. In our study, the least preferred milkweed species A. tuberosa (no choice; Fig. 2) and A. verticillata (choice; Fig. 3A) both have low cardenolide levels recorded in the literature (Roeske et al. 1976, Agrawal et al. 2009, 2015, Rasmann and Agrawal 2011)
  7. ^ Fishbein, M., and D.L. Venable. 1996. Diversity and change in the effective pollinators of Asclepias tuberosa. Ecology 77:1061-1073.
  8. ^ Loewer, Peter 'Native Perennials For the Southeast' Cool Springs Press. Nashville, Tenn. 2005 ISBN 1-59186-121-7
  9. ^ Druse, Ken 'Making More Plants The Science, Art, and Joy of Propagation' Abrams. New York, NY. 2012 ISBN 0-517-70787-X
  10. ^ "Monarch Watch". monarchwatch.org. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  11. ^ (1) Borders, Brianna; Lee–Mӓder, Eric (2014). "Milkweed Propagation and Seed Production" (PDF). Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner's Guide: Plant Ecology, Seed Production Methods, and Habitat Restoration Opportunities. Portland, Oregon: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. pp. 21–95. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
    (2) Landis, Thomas D.; Dumroese, R. Kasten (2015). "Propagating Native Milkweeds for Restoring Monarch Butterfly Habitat" (PDF). International Plant Propagators’ Society, Combined Proceedings (2014). 64: 299–307. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2021 – via United States Department of Agriculture: United States Forest Service.
    (3) (1) National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2020). Evaluating the Suitability of Roadway Corridors for Use by Monarch Butterflies. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. pp. 79–80. doi:10.17226/25693. ISBN 9780309481328. LCCN 2020935714. OCLC 1229163481. National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCRHP) Research Report 942. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2021. Could roadside mowing stimulate milkweed growth and support monarch breeding? Limited research in eastern North America has shown that spring or summer mowing can promote new growth and extend the availability of milkweed plants for monarch breeding. Mowing may stimulate growth of some milkweed species, particularly those that spread through rhizomes like common milkweed (A. syriaca) and showy milkweed (A. speciosa). Summer (June or July) mowing in Michigan resulted in more monarch eggs on regenerated stems than unmowed stems. .... However, more research is needed in other areas to determine the optimal timing and frequency of mowing that promotes not only milkweed but also nectar plants. It is also unknown if the benefit of additional milkweed availability in the fall outweighs the costs of the larval mortality caused by summer mowing. The benefits are likely greater in areas that primarily have breeding monarchs in the spring and fall and where the dominant species of milkweed spread by rhizomes. Sources: Alcock et al. 2016; Baum and Mueller, 2015; Bhowick 1994; Haan and Landis 2019; Fischer et al. 2015CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ (1) Borders, Brianna; Lee–Mӓder, Eric (2014). "Milkweed Propagation and Seed Production: Stratification" (PDF). Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner's Guide: Plant Ecology, Seed Production Methods, and Habitat Restoration Opportunities. Portland, Oregon: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. pp. 28–29. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
    (2) Landis, Thomas D.; Dumroese, R. Kasten (2015). "Propagating Native Milkweeds for Restoring Monarch Butterfly Habitat" (PDF). International Plant Propagators’ Society, Combined Proceedings (2014). 64: 302. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2021 – via United States Department of Agriculture: United States Forest Service. Many sources of milkweed seeds require stratification (cold, moist treatment) before sowing. .... Butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa) germination increased from 29 to 48 to 62% as stratification duration increased from 0 to 30 to 60 days, respectively (Bir, 1986).
    (3) Higgins, Adrian (May 27, 2015). "7 milkweed varieties and where to find them". Home & Garden. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 26, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020. Seed may be stubborn to germinate and may need a period of cold treatment..
  13. ^ (1) Mader, Eric; Shepherd, Mathew; Vaughan, Mace; Black, Scott Hoffman; LeBuhn, Gretchen (2011). Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies: The Xerces Society guide. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. pp. 113–114. ISBN 9781603427470. LCCN 2010043054. OCLC 776997073. Retrieved July 7, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
    (2) Landis, Thomas D.; Dumroese, R. Kasten (2015). "Propagating Native Milkweeds for Restoring Monarch Butterfly Habitat" (PDF). International Plant Propagators’ Society, Combined Proceedings (2014). 64: 302. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2021 – via United States Department of Agriculture: United States Forest Service. Any of the standard seed propagation methods (Landis et al., 1999) are effective with milkweed. Direct sowing of non-stratified seeds during the fall followed by exposure to ambient winter conditions can be effective, but the seeds must be mulched and protected. Cover sown seeds with a thin mulch; research has found that common milkweed seeds germinated better when planted 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 in.) deep than when at the soil surface (Jeffery and Robison, 1971).
  14. ^ Bush-Brown, James; Bush-Brown, Louise (1958). "Chapter 32: Mulches". America's garden book. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 768. LCCN 58005738. OCLC 597041748 – via Internet Archive.
  15. ^ Species profile on VASCAN. Retrieved on February 21, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c "Asclepias tuberosa". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  17. ^ anonymous (2008). "Featured Native Plant: Butterfly Weed" (PDF). Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes. 6 (4). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 14, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  18. ^ Dickinson, T.; Metsger, D.; Bull, J.; & Dickinson, R. (2004) ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario. Toronto:Royal Ontario Museum, p. 138.
  19. ^ (1) Elias, Thomas S.; Dykeman, Peter A. (2009) [1982]. Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide to Over 200 Natural Foods. New York: Sterling. pp. 267–68. ISBN 978-1-4027-6715-9. OCLC 244766414.
    (2) Mikkelsen, Lauge Hjorth; Hamoudi, Hassan; Altuntas Gül, Cigdem; Heegaard, Steffen (2017). "Corneal Toxicity Following Exposure to Asclepias tuberosa". The Open Ophthalmology Journal. Bentham Science Publishers. 11: 1–4. doi:10.2174/1874364101711010001. PMC 5362972. PMID 28400886. The latex of A. tuberosa seems to be different from other members of the Asclepias family due to the fact that even though cardenolides are normally considered present in Asclepias species, these cardenolides have not been found in A. tuberosa. Instead some unique pregnane glycosides are found in A. tuberosa.
    (3) Stevens, Michelle. "Plant guide for Butterfly Milkweed: Asclepias tuberosa L." (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service: National Plant Data Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 9, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021. Milkweed species, as a group, are known to contain cardiac glycosides that are poisonous both to humans and to livestock, as well as other substances that may account for their medicinal effect. Resinoids, glycosides, and a small amount of alkaloids are present in all parts of the plant. Symptoms of poisoning by the cardiac glycosides include dullness, weakness, bloating, inability to stand or walk, high body temperature, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, spasms, and coma.
  20. ^ a b c "Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)". tpwd.texas.gov. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  21. ^ (1) "Asclepias tuberosa". Native Plant Database. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin. "Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Roots, plant sap from all parts. Not edible. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include vomiting, stupor, weakness, spasms. Toxic Principle: Resinoid, cardiac glycoside" "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - the University of Texas at Austin". Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link).
    (2) Mikkelsen, Lauge Hjorth; Hamoudi, Hassan; Altuntas Gül, Cigdem; Heegaard, Steffen (2017). "Corneal Toxicity Following Exposure to Asclepias tuberosa". The Open Ophthalmology Journal. Bentham Science Publishers. 11: 1–4. doi:10.2174/1874364101711010001. PMC 5362972. PMID 28400886. The latex of A. tuberosa seems to be different from other members of the Asclepias family due to the fact that even though cardenolides are normally considered present in Asclepias species, these cardenolides have not been found in A. tuberosa. Instead some unique pregnane glycosides are found in A. tuberosa.
    (3) Warashina, Tsutomu; Noro, Tadataka (February 2010). "8,12;8,20-Diepoxy-8,14-secopregnane Glycosides from the Aerial Parts of Asclepias tuberosa". Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. 58 (2): 172–179. doi:10.1248/cpb.58.172. PMID 20118575. Retrieved September 11, 2020.

References[edit]

External links[edit]