Thursday, August 12, 2010

Milkweed - Asclepias syriaca

Most of us know this as the common Milkweed. Friends to butterflies - especially the Monarchs. What we may not know is that a tea from the root was at one time used to treat respiratory ailments and kidney stones. The sap has been used to treat warts and poison ivy. And during World War II during the shortage of natural rubber, there were many unfruitful experiments with milkweed sap as a rubber substitute. Lastly, while the flowers nectar taste good to many an insect, smaller insects often become victim to the pollen sacs that act as a pair of jaws.