Asclepias pumila | Low Milkweed | Plains Milk Weed | 10_Seeds

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This is Asclepias pumila, also known as Low Milkweed, and Plains Milkweed. This highly versatile plant is edible and the fiber is very useful in making cloth, string, paper, oil, wicks, gum, latex and stuffing. Growing to just over a foot high, this plant blooms from July to August. It likes to be planted in full sun or partial shade, and in well draining soil. Unripened flower buds can be cooked and eaten. The taste is similar to peas. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary sweetener, or they can be used as a thickener and flavoring in soups. Young shoots can be cooked and used as an asparagus substitute, while tips of older shoots are cooked and used as a substitute for spinach. Young seed pods are very tasty and older pods can be eaten after the floss is removed. The fibers are very water repellent and therefore they are used to stuff life jackets. Not only is this a larval host plant for the Monarch, Queen, and Soldier Butterflies, but it is a nectar source for many other beneficial pollinators. Asclepias in general are documented nectar sources for the Monarch, Orange-edged Roadside-Skipper, Dina Yellow, Carus Skipper, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, and Falcate Metalmark butterflies. It is also the nectar source for the Clarks sphinx, and Milkweed Tussock moths. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9