Sunday, July 16, 2006

Milkweed or Butterfly weed?

Candy D and I were talking the other morning (on Yahoo Messenger – don’t you love technology?) about Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Weed and Milkweed.

I have taken a picture of a butterfly weed, and we were discussing all of the flowers that are close to each other for names and or type.

Now, the Butterfly bush is a shrub, and a beautiful shrub it is. It’s Latin name is Buddleja davidii and is a woody shrub. It comes from China in several flower colors--including white, pink, and purple--and is a staple in both hummingbird and butterfly gardens.

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Disclaimer - not my picture - I got it from the Web

I would like to eventually get one for myself, but I have to tame the wild country outside my door, first. I am struggling (well, not struggling enough) with thistle and grasses in my herb garden and around the few plants that I do have. I don’t think I can justify the cost of a shrub until this is taken care of. (Maybe in a hundred years?)

Butterfly Weed is sometimes mistakenly called “Bush”, but it is perennial.. Asclepias tuberosa (Asclepiadaceae) is the Latin name. It is an extremely hardy, long-lived perennial native to North America. Butterfly Weed may take up to two years to become established from seed, and then it should bloom every year.

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Disclaimer - this IS my own picture!

Note: Also called Pleurisy Root: it is a member of the Milkweed family, so most parts of the plant contain toxins. Poultices for sores were made from the powdered root. A tea from the root encourages sweating. A tea can also be made to induce vomiting.

Again, something I want, but after the jungle is gone outside my door. Wish I would wave a magic wand and have the fairies till and work my gardens. I am a gardener planner, not a weeder! And no one but me to do the work, as Norm has the vegetable gardens to struggle with. HIS fairy isn’t working too well, either!

Sometimes Milkweed is called Butterfly weed and no wonder! They are nearly the same! Milkweed’s Latin name is Asclepias .. and Butterfly Weed is just one of over 200 different plants throughout the world.

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Disclaimer - again, not my own picture

It is suggested that you plant two or three different kinds of Milkweed, including Butterfly Weed, to attract your Monarch butterflies. I was surprised to find that you can actually buy a common Milkweed plant – the very same kind as most people pull from their gardens. I know – I did, until I found that lovely caterpillar on one.
So, until my massive mess outside gets tamed, I am going to allow the Milkweeds to run rampant. When (if) I get it tamed, I will plant more Milkweeds and Butterfly Weeds and even a Butterfly Bush … love those butterflies!

Have a beautiful day!


Candy Duell said...

Dont you just love the color of the butterfly weed. I think the orange very pretty. After checking, you really have to look at pictures to make sure you are purchasing what you want, because people do get confused.

The Unusually Unsual Farmchick said...

Very interesting indeed! I am guilty too of pulling the milkweed all the while thinking how I would love to attract more butterflies to the yard and garden... a big duh stamped on the forehead for that one now looking back... Thank you for the information. You have once again peeked my interest. I just love reading your blog Spinning Grandma.

Green Fingers said...

You know, a gardening book I read said if you have too many weeds then you don't have enough stuff planted! You need to plant hardy, vigorous things to crowd out the weeds! At least, I like that theory.

Our property was over run with morning glory, wild blackberries, thistles, etc., etc. But we've noticed that in the places we plant and mulch heavily, weeds aren't much of a problem. We mulch at least once a year, sometimes twice, with 1 application of manure compost (and it's a thick layer too, like 4-6 inches deep) and then either a second application of manure or a thick layer of straw (not hay, hay has seeds!), fallen leaves, compost, or some combination thereof.

I say, plant plants that will grow well, and plant them close together, they'll crowd out the weeds! Good luck!

(You may have figured out by now that I'm all about immediate gratification . . .)