View Full Version : Monday Trivia: Weed

Star lover
February 26th, 2018, 08:32 AM
Now tell the truth......when you saw weed.....you thought weed....right?

Wrong....it's about .....Milkweed....I knew it! You've been holding your breathe, waiting to know all about it....LOL

Probably the best-known fact about milkweed is that itís a host plant for butterflies like the monarch. In reality, although the plants are food for several different species of butterflies (not to mention a source of nectar for moths and hummingbirds), they are the sole food source for monarch butterfly larvae. Growing any of the milkweed species in your garden will attract a wonderful array of these creatures. Besides being a great wildlife plant, milkweeds have been used by humans as food and medicine, as textile material, and even for industrial purposes.


A Precarious Food Plant:
Native people, early settlers, and modern foragers alike have eaten milkweed as a cooked vegetable. Nearly every part is edible, but each must be harvested at just the right time. Young, tender shoots in early spring; unopened flower buds in midsummer; firm, green seedpods in late summer ó all can be eaten if they are boiled in multiple changes of water.

Cook the unopened flower buds very well in sugar water until it thickens into a syrup, then strain out the cooked flowers and drizzle the milkweed flower syrup lightly over a dish of vanilla ice cream. If the plants are eaten raw or are too old or picked at the wrong time, however, they may cause nausea or vomiting.

( OK, who cooked it once, got sick and thought......mmmmmm, just cook it again......got sick and thought......, etc, yeah right.....I would have thrown it all out after the first time!)

A Natural Pesticide:
Ironically (given its reputation as a host plant for pollinators), milkweed can also be used as a pesticide! Its seeds contain cardenolides, a compound that kills nematodes and armyworms. These are destructive pests for crops such as potatoes, soybeans, alfalfa, tomatoes, and corn. In field studies, turning milkweed seed meal into the soil resulted in 97 percent of the pests being killed, and with greater safety for humans and less negative environmental impact to wildlife, soil, and water than when conventional pesticides are employed.

Milkweed to the Rescue!
Seed floss from milkweed proved to be a valuable tool during the twentieth century. During World War II, the Japanese cut off access to Java, so the U.S. Navy needed to find an alternative to Javanese kapok (a plant tree cultivated for its buoyant seed floss) to fill its life jackets. They found a homegrown solution in milkweed; its seed floss is hollow and coated with a natural plant wax, which makes it waterproof and allows it to float. The federal government paid American schoolchildren 15 cents for every onion bag of unopened milkweed seedpods they collected. Each bag held between 600 to 800 pods, and two bags filled with the pods supplied enough seed floss to fill one life jacket. The navy made 1.2 million life jackets from milkweed seed floss during this time.



Interestingly, even though it repels water, milkweed floss actually absorbs oil. Because of this helpful trait, the seed floss is currently used to make floating kits that help clean up man-made oil spills.

Milkweed Medicine
Milkweed has medicinal uses, too! A number of Native tribes have used the latex juice from the roots, plant tops, and stem for medicinal purposes. The Miwok people used the latex to remove warts. The Cheyenne made a decoction of the dried plant tops and used it as an eyewash to heal snow blindness. Cherokee, Delaware, and Mohegan peoples used pleurisy root, also called butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), made into a cough remedy. Today herbalists still use it for pleurisy, an inflammation in the lining around the lungs. The southwestern milkweed named immortal (Asclepias asperula), also called antelope horns because of the unique shape of the flowers, has traditionally been used for heart conditions.

Beyond its uses by indigenous people, milkweed was at one time a medicine that pharmacists prepared. Milkweeds have been prepared as tinctures and used as emetics to induce vomiting in the case of poisoning. From 1820 to 1905 Asclepias tuberosa was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia, and from 1906 to 1936 it was included in the National Formulary as an official botanical drug to treat the condition of pleurisy.

Now aren't you glad you checked in today, to discover what there is to know about weed......milkweed, that is!?
Someone posted something about weed when I did the Presidents and my mind......it loves a rabbit hole!

February 26th, 2018, 08:59 AM
Awe shucks, and I had a bunch of stories to tell. :lol:

That was really interesting. I buy plants on Etsy sometimes and I did run across Milkweed. I might get one for the butterflies!

February 26th, 2018, 09:21 AM
WEED??? Yes I thought that weed.

But your post if more interesting.

February 26th, 2018, 10:05 AM
That is an interesting plant. Not sure, but I think I read that Monarchs are poisonous because of all of the milkweed they eat as a caterpillar. Now, was it poisonous to people or other smaller animals... not sure.

February 26th, 2018, 10:19 AM
<Memories, I haven't seen milkweed since I was a child. I loved opening it and looking at it. Didn't know that's why we had all those monarch butterflies though. Maybe I'll plant some.

February 26th, 2018, 05:28 PM
It's a aphid magnet in my garden - keeps them off other plants like the tomatoes. And it reseeds, in wierd places, like next to the garbage can. :icon_beuj:

Judy, USMC
February 27th, 2018, 01:34 AM
Been planting milkweed for the Monarchs for a couple of years already! Beautiful butterflies and they definitely are attracted to the weed.

Carlie Wolf
December 28th, 2018, 11:56 AM
I loved milkweed (and Monarchs too). I had a lot on the land in Canada and they did attract the butterflies. I tried to plant them here but I have not had luck. I did see a Monarch this year on the butterfly bush I planted two years ago though :-)

201 Treadler
December 28th, 2018, 06:10 PM
thought of dandelions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum) as the weed
very interest about milk weed