Herb, Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

Herb, Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

Apt name as all parts exude a milky juice when cut. Wild flower growing up to 1m/3ft high. Young shoots are eaten like asparagus. Silk-like down of seeds is used to stuff pillows. Root and rhizome are anodyne (pain killing). Used for asthma, painful cough and scrofula. Germination benefits from gibberellic acid treatment.

This is a bold, attractive plant with broad leaves and large clusters of pink blossoms. It is easily grown from Milkweed seeds, and it is a must have for the butterfly garden. Milkweed Asclepias Syriaca draws butterflies with its strong lilac-like fragrance and sweet nectar. Sometimes called Butterfly Milkweed, the perennial is a host plant for Monarch butterfly larva. The eggs are laid on the Milkweed plant, and the larvae will feed on the plant and mature into a chrysalis. In addition to attracting butterflies, Common Milkweed plants are perfect for a naturalized setting. It is very attractive, easily controlled, and easily grown from flower seeds. Milkweeds are important host plants for monarch butterflies, and they provide nectar to a wide range of butterflies, moths and bees.  Common Milkweed has pink flowers and grows to four feet tall.  It is native to the Midwest and eastern U.S.  It prefers full sun and loamy, mesic soil, but it can tolerate a wide variety of conditions.  This species can spread aggressively in moister sites and is most appropriate for butterfly habitat gardens, conservation and meadow plantings.

Milkweed plants contain cardiac glycosides, allied to digitalins used in treating some heart disease; however, this plant should not be eaten by humans or live stock.

Growing Common Milkweed from flower seed is very rewarding. It is appropriate to sow Milkweed seeds outdoors after the frosts of fall have begun. The cold, dormant planting will aid the germination of the seed in spring when temperatures warm. If sowing Common Milkweed seeds indoors or in a greenhouse, refrigerate the flower seed for 2 months before sowing. The cold treatment will help to break the dormancy of the seed.

Pack. App. 40-50 seeds. $3.00


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