July 13, 2020

Butterfly Magnet

Editor’s note: This week we are featuring heirlooms from The Heirloom Garden of Maine, located in Montville. Their expansive catalog offers an array of heirloom plants — some well-known and some obscure — that have graced gardens for centuries as much for their beauty as for their usefulness. You can view their catalog here and visit their website here.

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Weed | Photo Courtesy of The Heirloom Garden of Maine

Nothing like a native to attract the fluttering of butterflies to your garden and so it is with Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed. This perennial’s long, pointed leaves are topped by brilliant orange blossoms that draw droves of butterflies. The plant reaches about 30 inches tall, is hardy to Zone 3 (all of Maine), and prefers full sun, tolerating dry conditions once established. According to the catalog for The Heirloom Garden of Maine, the roots “were dried and pulverized with the powder used medicinally by Native Americans to heal wounds. Fresh roots were used by Shakers for a variety of medical ailments, including pleurisy.”