Butterfly Weed
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Butterfly Weed
P Introduced Photo: Tabish
Common name: Butterfly Weed, Butterfly Milkweed, Orange Milkweed, Pleurisy Root, Chigger Flower
Botanical name: Asclepias tuberosa    Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)

Butterfly Weed is a bushy, perennial herb, 1.5-2 ft tall, commonly grown for its large, flat-topped clusters of bright-orange flowers. The leaves are mostly alternate, 3-5.5 cm long, pointed, and smooth on the edge. The yellow-orange to bright orange flower clusters, 5-12 cm across, are at the top of the flowering stem. The flowers have five sepals, five petals, and five stamens. This plant has 4- to 5-in. spindle shape seed pods. The stiff, lance-shaped leaves provide a dark-green background for bright orange flower heads. The flowers are not just brilliant, they attract butterflies.
Medicinal uses: The root of Butterfly Weed was chewed by the native Americans as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments. It is a bitter, nutty-flavoured tonic herb that increases perspiration, relieves spasms and acts as an expectorant. It was much used by the native Americans and acquired a reputation as a heal-all amongst the earlier white settlers. Its main use in modern day herbal medicine is for relieving the pain and inflammation of pleurisy.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in cultivation in Bangalore.

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