Asclepias tuberosa butterfly weed Asclepiadaceae ASTU; Bx, pb, vc; Q, i, j, tl; K; R, sb, sm;

   

Asclepias tuberosa. MBGargiullo. 6.16.2015, yard, Central, NJ. jpg

Asclepias tuberosa. MBGargiullo. 6.16.2015, yard, Central, NJ. jpg

Asclepias tuberosa is a perennial herb, to 70 cm tall, hairy, simple to branched above; stems emerging from a the crown of a stout tap root in May, living up to 25 years, not flowering before about 6 years, 1-few stems per plant, no vegetative reproduction (Klemow and Raynal 1986; Wyatt 1980).Sap clear

Leaves alternate below, opposite on branches, narrowly lance-shaped, to 10 cm long. 

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) inflorescence. January 2, 2014 copyright © Melton Wiggins. Plants of Southern Alabama  and adjoining areas of Mississippi and Florida. meltonwiggins.com

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) inflorescence. January 2, 2014 copyright © Melton Wiggins. Plants of Southern Alabama and adjoining areas of Mississippi and Florida. meltonwiggins.com (Accessed 11/2017).

Flowers orange, ca 1 cm, in umbels, radially symmetrical, 5-parted, petals bent downward, stamens fused around style into a central column that is sheathed by a ring of fused scales (hoods), each scale bears a small horn on its internal surface, the entire central structure called the corona, a signature structure of Asclepiadaceae; mostly self-infertile, insect pollinated by bees and butterflies (Wilbur 1976), June-July. 

asclepias-tuberosa-fruit-juvenile-copyright-steve-baskauf-2002-2011-%c2%b7-4

Asclepias tuberosa-fruit-juvenile.© copyright-Steve-Baskauf-2002-2011

Fruit dry, hollow pod, ca 10 cm, thin, erect, seeds brown, flat, numerous, with silky tufts, wind dispersed, Sept.-Oct.. 

Wetland status: UPL. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Open, undisturbed, upland areas. Often planted in restorations of meadows and grasslands (Idlewild). 

Notes: Dormant below ground Oct.-May. Seedlings eaten by rabbits; insect herbivores mostly Hemiptera (true bugs), (Wilbur 1976).