Asclepias is a genus in the Asclepiadaceae family. The most familiar plant in the genus is probably common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, a tenacious weed of agricultural fields and roadsides of eastern North America. After flowering, the plants bear inflated pods filled with seeds attached to silky parachutes which aid in wind dispersal. The plants are also important host plants for caterpillars of the beautiful black and orange Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus).
Asclepias tuberosa is native to Eastern North America and commonly called Butterfly Weed. It bears showy umbels of small flowers, usually orange, but their color can vary from yellow to near red. Photos 1-4 were taken in June 2007 by Jay Yourch. Photos 4-6 were taken in habitat by Nhu Nguyen of an orange form at Kisatchie National Forest, central Louisiana.
Photograph of seed by David Pilling.