Scientific NameItea lutea
Other Common Names:
The leaves are alternate, simple, crowded, lance-shaped, 5-10 cm long, shiny green, smooth above and velvety beneath.
Butterfly milkweed grows on sandy, loamy, or rocky limestone soils of prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and disturbed areas similar to other milkweed species. Milkweed Family (Asclepiadaceae). Asclepias tuberosa is a perennial herb 3-9 dm tall with woody rootstocks. According to Kelly Kindscher (1992), "Asclepias comes from the name of the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios. The species name, tuberosa, means full of swellings or knobs, referring to the enlarged root system." Butterfly milkweed stems are hairy, erect, and grow in numerous clumps. There is a watery sap within the stems and leaves.
Flower Seed Head
The flowers are in showy, rounded to flat-topped groups near the ends of branches. Each flower has 5 petals, bent downward, orange to red or sometimes yellow, topped by a crown of 5 erect hoods, each one containing a short horn.
Fruits are hairy, spindle-shaped pods 8-15 cm long. The numerous seeds each have a tuft of long white hairs at the tip.
Milkweeds grow in clumps beside roadways, on abandoned farmlands, and in other open areas throughout the United States
woody bush or tree
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval