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FutureStarrAWhere Can I Find Milkweed
Milkweed is hard to find. Which is why we created a field guide to help you find milkweed. In addition to the field guide, we've also put together literature for youth and educators. You can print the guide for free or download the pocket guide as a free e-book.One of the best ways to see monarch butterflies is by enticing expectant mothers to lay eggs on your milkweed plants. There are over 100 species of milkweed in North America and these are some of the best ones for your butterfly garden. Try planting several varieties to increase your odds of seeing (and supporting) magnificent monarchs…
Common milkweed is a member of the Asclepiadaceae (milkweed) family. It is one of about 115 species that occur in the Americas. Most species are tropical or arid land species. The genus name, Asclepias, commemorates Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine. Some of the milkweed species have a history of medicinal use including common milkweed (wart removal and lung diseases), and butterfly weed, A. tuberosa (also known as pleurisy root, used for pleurisy and other lung disease). The specific epithet, syriaca, means ‘of Syria’ in reference to Linnaeus's mistaken belief it was from Syria. It is a widespread and somewhat weedy species known from most of the eastern United States and the eastern most prairie states as well as southern Canada from New Brunswick to Saskatchewan. It is frequently found in fence rows, on roadsides, in fields, and in prairies and pastures. Given the opportunity, it will establish in gardens and even thin lawns. It is tolerant of light shade, but generally is a full sun species.
This milkweed grows to about 1.5 meters(5 feet) tall, usually occurring in clusters of stout stems. It has rhizomes and quickly forms colonies. Leaves are 15-20 centimeters (6-8 inches) long and 5-9 centimeters (2-3.6 inches) wide. They are somewhat thick with a prominent midrib beneath. The upper surface is light to dark green while the lower surface is lighter, almost white at times. Broken leaves and stems exude a milky latex. Flowers are borne in nearly spherical clusters (umbels) at the top of the plant, usually with 2-5 clusters per plant. Each flower is about 2 centimeters (0.75 inches) long and 1 centimeters (0.4 inches) wide. Flowers are greenish-pink to rosy pink to purplish-pink and very strongly and sweetly scented. Fruits (pods) are about 10 centimeters (4 inches) long, inflated and covered in little finger-like projections. They are green initially, turning brown as they mature. They split open revealing 50-100 seeds each with a white, fluffy coma ("parachute") that allows wind dispersal. (Source: www.fs.fed.us)