Orange Milkweed

By William T. Hathaway

Orange Milkweed

The Orange Milkweed or Butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a perennial herb with flowers that vary in color from orange-yellow to orange-red. It attracts many butterflies during June to late August, especially the numerous Great Spangled Fritillaries that hover over its floral clusters.

This orange milkweed prefers dry soils of roadsides, fields, ditches and woodland margins. The fruiting pods are 4 to 5 inches long and stand nearly erect when mature. Because of its roots having been chewed by Indians as a cure for pleurisy and other lung disorders, its other name “pleurisy root” has been handed down in old literature.

Although found scattered throughout Pitttyslvania County, a section of the roadside between Milton and Semora in Caswell County, N. C., is my favorite flowering milkweed site.