Arizona Naturalists >>> Ponderosa Woodland Flora >>> Asclepiadaceae >>> Asclepias tuberosa

Orange Milkweed
Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa

photo © by Mike Plagens

Photographed on Pine Mountain in the Pine Mountain Wilderness Area, Yavapai Co., Arizona, USA. 07 June 2009.

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FLOWERS: Brilliant orange or sometimes more yellow flowers in flat topped clusters at top of plant. Readily visited by butterflies giving this plant another common name Butterfly Weed.

LEAVES: Dark green, elongate to elyptic leaves are alternate or opposite on the stems. The leaf margins are smooth. Milky, toxic sap emerges at once from breaks in stems or leaves.

PERENNIAL: One to several herbaceous stems grow in a clump. Most plants are less than one meter tall.

RANGE: In range of this plant in Arizona's ponderosa woodlands is spotty and may have been augmented by human settlers transplanting efforts. This plant ranges through eastern North America where it is fairly common in semi-open woodlands and prairie situations.

FRUIT: Pairs of pods develop and are oriented upwards. At maturity the pods split open to reveal many comose seeds.

UNARMED. Without thorns, but sap can be an irritant.

Asclepiadaceae -- Milkweed Family

More Information:

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Arizona Naturalist
Arizona's Ponderosa Woodlands
The Flora of Arizona's Ponderosa Woodlands


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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010