Butterfly Weed, Milkweed, Indian Paintbrush

Butterfly Weed, Milkweed, Indian Paintbrush

Butterfly Weed, Milkweed, Indian Paintbrush

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Butterfly weed is a tuberous rooted, native perennial which occurs in dry/rocky prairies, fields and roadsides throughout eastern and southern United States. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly larvae (caterpillars). It typically grows in a clump to 1-3' tall and features clusters (umbels) of bright orange flowers atop upright to reclining, hairy stems with narrow, lance-shaped leaves. Unlike many of the other milkweeds, this species does not have milky-sapped stems. Flowers give way to prominent, spindle-shaped seed pods (3-6" long) which split open when ripe releasing numerous silky-tailed seeds for dispersal by the wind. Seed pods are valued in dried flower arrangements. Long bloom period from late spring throughout the summer.