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often referred to by other names such as pappus, "floss", "plume", or "silk"). The follicles ripen and split open, and the seeds, each carried by its coma, are blown by the wind. Some, but not all, milkweeds also reproduce by clonal (or vegetative) reproduction.Milkweeds have a long history of medicinal, every day, and military use. The Omaha people from Nebraska, the Menomin from Wisconsin and upper Michigan, the Dakota from Minnesota, and the Ponca people from Nebraska, traditionally used common milkweed (A. syriaca) for medicinal purposes.
Agrawal, Anurag A.; Ali, Jared G.; Rasmann, Sergio; Fishbein, Mark; (ORCID 0000-0003-3099-4387 GS 80G72B0AAAAJ) (2015). "4 - Macroevolutionary Trends in the Defense of Milkweeds against Monarchs - Latex, Cardenolides, and Tolerance of Herbivory". In Oberhauser, Karen (ed.). Monarchs in a changing world : biology and conservation of an iconic butterfly. Ithaca London: Comstock Publishing, a division of Cornell University Press. pp. 47–59. ISBNPocius, 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. Note: Tropical milkweed available at many retail nurseries is not native to the U.S. However it has naturalized in the Southeastern U.S. Science is discovering that its long bloom time may have some detrimental effects on monarch migration and possibly be a source to spread disease within monarch populations.
If you do have tropical milkweed in your garden, it is recommended to cut the plant back in the winter months to encourage monarchs to move on to their natural overwintering sites.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. (Source: www.fs.fed.us)