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Milkweed Seeds

$3.20$4.00 20% off

12.203 STEEM 15.254 STEEM
5.429 SBD 6.786 SBD

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Overview

Known as “butterfly flower,” common milkweed is the host of monarch butterflies. Monarch larvae only consumes milkweed, so without this plant, there will be no more monarchs (which has already suffered a 90% decline in population since 1990 due to the widespread use of herbicides).

Milkweed, common – Asclepias syriaca

Life cycle: Perennial / Ease of propagation: Difficult / Hardiness zone: 3-8 / Requires: Stratification

Known as “butterfly flower,” common milkweed is the host of monarch butterflies. Monarch larvae only consumes milkweed, so without this plant, there will be no more monarchs (which has already suffered a 90% decline in population since 1990 due to the widespread use of herbicides).

Besides being an important food source for insects, milkweed is edible to humans too. Cooked flower buds are said to taste like peas and can be prepared similar to broccoli. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. Young milkweed shoots as well as young seed pods can be cooked and eaten. The milky latex that oozes from the stem can be made into a chewing gum (Plants for a Future).

Milkweed roots are a respiratory expectorant (softens bronchial mucus and dilates bronchi) and diaphoretic (stimulates urine and perspiration). It has been used in the treatment of asthma, kidney stones, and venereal disease. For more info on harvesting, preparation, and uses, please refer to Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore.

Milkweed is perennial and spreads both by rhizomes and seeds. It produces very fragrant pale lilac color flowers and large pods with cottony seed floss. Often found on roadsides and fields, milkweed is not particular about soil, but does like plenty of sun and good drainage.

Sowing Instructions

Seeds require a period of stratification so it’s best to direct sow seeds in the fall in a location that has good drainage and allow them to stratify naturally through winter. Alternatively, direct sow in very early spring. If transplanting, start seeds in trays 10-12 weeks before last frost at 1/4″ deep. Transplant into larger pots 3-5 weeks after sowing. Harden off and transplant outdoors after the last frost at 12-24″ apart.

References

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, Michael Moore

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