Butterflyweed, Butterfly milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also wildflower and butterfly gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

An occasional but widespread understory herb in pinelands.
Occasionally grown by native plant nurseries. Available at Indian Trails Native Nursery in Lake Worth (561-641-9488) and in Groveland at Green Isle Gardens (321-436-4932).
Small, somewhat sprawling wildflower.
Typically 1-2 feet in height. Usually taller than broad, but sometimes falling over and forming small patches.
Growth Rate:
Widespread in North America south to Miami-Dade and Collier counties; northeastern Mexico. Not documented on barrier islands in South Florida, but possibly historically present; it is cultivated at Panís Garden in Palm Beach.
Moist, well-drained calcareous or sandy soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Red, orange or yellow.
Flower Characteristics:
Flowering Season:
All year.
Slender pod (follicle) with wind dispersed seeds.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Larval host plant for monarch (Danaus plexippus) and rarely queen (Danaus gilippus) butterflies; possible larval host of soldier (Danaus eresimus) butterflies. Nectar plant for monarch (Danaus plexippus) and other butterflies. Attracts bees and other insects pollinators.
Horticultural Notes:
Grown from seed, which may require chilling for a few weeks if fresh. Young plants are somewhat sensitive and should not be disturbed until established.
See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page and Monarchs & Milkweed flyer.

Roger L. Hammer
Susan Trammell
Keith A. Bradley
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton