June 24, 2013


"A weed is simply a plant that you don't know what to do with."
Author Unknown

When we lived in Michigan, milkweed had pinky-purple flowers. Here in Oklahoma, there was a similar plant in our pasture, although smaller, with green flowers. Green flowers. Maybe, by a stretch of the imagination, they could be called yellow, but really they are green.

I looked up the flowers online (I've found the Kansas Wildflowers site to be very helpful with identifying wildflowers here in Oklahoma, as well as the OKPrairie site) and discovered that milkweed comes in several colors. This particular one is called green antelope horns milkweed, or simply green milkweed, Asclepias viridis.

This description is from OKPrairie:
Green Milkweed, Asclepias viridis
Plants grow 1-2 feet tall. Leaves are oblong-ovate, 2-5 inches long and 1/2-2 inches wide. Flowers are terminal umbels, with each greenish flower being in five parts. This plant prefers prairie habitats

Milkweed stalks can be collected in the late fall and early winter, then split open to release the fibers, which are then twisted together to make fiber. "Old-Timers" used the sap to treat warts. 

The other day as I drove down the road, I noticed that the orange butterfly weed had bloomed, so I pulled over to take some photos. The flowers resembled the green milkweed blooms, although they were smaller and the plant itself was shaped a bit differently.

Once I was back home, I checked online and found out that this is butterfly milkweed, asclepias tuberosa L., also called butterfly weed and pleurisy root. Native Americans and pioneers used the roots to treat respiratory problems. The plant attracts butterflies just like the other varieties of milkweed.

In this photo, you can see the difference in the shape of the leaves of the two plants. The butterfly milkweed has longer, thinner leaves. The flowers are smaller and more numerous. 

The orange butterfly milkweed doesn't grow on our place, but we have the green milkweed in several places.

Two years ago I found two monarch caterpillars on a green milkweed plant. They were the first I'd seen in the wild, and they are just as colorful as I'd seen in pictures. I "adopted" them and brought them inside with lots of milkweed stems to munch on. They spun their chrysalides and when our granddaughter came for the summer, she was able to watch them change color and then emerge as butterflies. What an awesome experience that was!

Caution: Milkweed may be toxic when taken internally.
  Remember, before using this or any plant or herb, please research it fully. 
You are responsible for your own health. 

Other posts in the wildflowers series:
Indian Paintbrush
Indian Blanket

This post has been shared at the following:
Homestead Barn Hop
Eco-Kids Tuesday
The HomeAcre Hop
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
From the Farm Hop
 Please visit my Blog Hops page for the links


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  1. Pretty flowers! I don't think I've seen any of those around here. But I really do like them so now I'll be on the lookout :)

  2. It seems to grow just about everywhere in some color or variety. :-)

  3. We are currently hosting monarchs and black swallowtails in our yard. Our milkweed plants are yellow, orange and green. Enjoy the lovely blooms!

  4. I love milkweed! I usually let it grow along the edge of the field and along our driveway. Looking for the monarch caterpillars was always a favorite activity with our kids! thanks for sharing on The Home Acre Hop! Look forward to what you'll be sharing this week! On The Home Front

  5. Thank you, Nancy. Love those butterflies!


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