Sunday, August 21, 2011

Butterfly Milkweed

This is a Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa interior) plant that it growing between the street and sidewalk on the west side, just north of the 2nd & Moffitt intersection here in Seward. It is a native perennial and has been growing in the lawn area there for a number of years. Unlike other milkweeds, this plant has a clear sap. The flowers bloom intermittently from early to late summer, depending on moisture levels; there is no floral scent. During late summer, seedpods develop that are about 4-5"long and 1/4" thick with a smooth surface that is slightly hairy. They eventually split open along one side and release the seeds. The root system consist of a woody taproot that is thick and knobby. I was familiar with the plant as a youngster growing up in the Bohemian Alps north of Garland but didn't know much about it. We had several acres of Native Prairie where we would see the plant as we "put-up" Prairie hay about County Fair time. Dan, on whose place this pictured plant is located, works for the Lower Platte South NRD in Lincoln. He keeps a beautiful yard with a couple Hickory trees among many other things. The variety of trees, shrubs and plants within the City of Seward make it a park-like setting.  People like Dan and his wife should know that many of us get considerable pleasure from observing their plantings as we drive by.

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