BUTTERFLY MILKWEED

This milkweed is called ‘Tuberosa’ due to its long fibrous tap root (which makes it difficult to transplant). It prefers drier soils than the Swamp Milkweed. It is shorter than the latter, about up to one meter (3 ft) high.
The orange (sometimes yellow) clusters of flowers are on top of the stems, and the seed pods stand up vertically. The pods are hairy and purple and larger than the pods from Swamp Milkweed. The leaves are alternate, narrow and pointed, and of a darker green shade than the Swamp Milkweed leaves.
Each season the tap root develops new stem buds for the following year, but these buds start underground near the surface. The seed pods mature about a month after those of the Swamp Milkweed.
A Butterfly Milkweed plant lives about 4-5 years in the wild, somewhat longer in a garden.
Butterfly Milkweed is VERY SLOW to start growing back in the spring (at least on Prince Edward Island), so it’s easy to be misled and believe it didn’t survive the winter. Then you plant something else in that spot, only to find your Butterfly Milkweed popping up again a few weeks later…..
COLLECTING THE SEEDS: Unless you want your milkweed to spread from seed all over the area around the plants and further, you need to deadhead the pods when they are forming. Or, if you want to collect the seeds, the time for harvesting the pods is when they start to split open. Once the pods are fully open, it doesn’t take long before the wind quickly disperses all those beautiful little silky parachutes.

My first group of Butterfly Milkweed planted there from seed in 2006, now seen in 2009.
My first group of Butterfly Milkweed planted there from seed in 2006, now seen in 2009. Way too close to the hemlock!
Butterfly Milkweed flowers close up - Aug. 10, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed flowers close up – Aug. 10, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed leaves are alternate, and their green is darker than those of Swamp Milkweed. - Sept. 29, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed leaves are alternate, and their green is darker than those of Swamp Milkweed. – Sept. 29, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed pods are purple and hairy, and longer (3.5 in. or 9 cm) than Swamp Milkweed pods. Oct. 4, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed pods are purple and hairy, and longer (3.5 in. or 9 cm) than Swamp Milkweed pods. Oct. 4, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed pods drying
Butterfly Milkweed pods drying – Nov. 3, 2018
Butterfly milkweed long tap roots. The top one is 20 in. (51 cm) long. Stratford, PEI - Oct. 4, 2018
Butterfly milkweed long tap roots. The top one is 20 in. (51 cm) long. Stratford, PEI – Oct. 4, 2018
This Butterfly Milkweed has been there for many years (north is behind plant), but now the cedars are taking over and the dappled willow is overshadowing it.
This Butterfly Milkweed has been there for many years (north is behind plant), but now the cedars are taking over and the dappled willow is overshadowing it.
Butterfly Milkweed blooms with a 3-pointed star shape - Aug. 10, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed blooms with a 3-pointed star shape – Aug. 10, 2018
Butterfly milkweed leaves are glossy, but NOT Swamp Milkweed leaves. Note the vein pattern. - Sept. 29, 2018
Butterfly milkweed leaves are glossy, but NOT Swamp Milkweed leaves. Note the vein pattern. – Sept. 29, 2018
The year I let the Butterfly Milkweed seed spread naturally. Beautiful, but.... - Nov. 21, 2009
The year I let the Butterfly Milkweed seed spread naturally. Beautiful, but…. – Nov. 21, 2009
Butterfly Milkweed seeds ready for stratification inside or immediate planting - Nov. 3, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed seeds ready for stratification inside or immediate planting – Nov. 3, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed stem branching starts underground, quite deep actually - Oct. 4, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed stem branching starts underground, quite deep actually – Oct. 4, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed blooms in clusters at the top of the stems. July 25, 2014
Butterfly Milkweed blooms in clusters at the top of the stems. July 25, 2014
Butterfly Milkweed sometimes displays yellow blooms in addition to orange ones - Aug. 8, 2015
Butterfly Milkweed sometimes displays yellow blooms in addition to orange ones – Aug. 8, 2015
Butterfly Milkweed pods stand erect in groups on top of the stems - Sept. 29, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed pods stand erect in groups on top of the stems – Sept. 29, 2018
Close up of Butterfly Milkweed pods spreading their seeds - The silks are longer than those of Swamp Milkweed - Nov. 21, 2009
Close up of Butterfly Milkweed pods spreading their seeds – The silks are longer than those of Swamp Milkweed – Nov. 21, 2009
Two several years old Butterfly Milkweed plants. The dark roots around them were loosely attached to the main tap root. Oct. 4, 2018
Two several years old Butterfly Milkweed plants. The dark roots around them were loosely attached to the main tap root. Oct. 4, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed plant, several years old. Note scars from previous stems, and buds for future stems. - Oct. 4, 2018
Butterfly Milkweed plant, several years old. Note scars from previous stems, and buds for future stems. – Oct. 4, 2018

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