Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Milkweed Facts and History

  1. 1. Milkweed are hardy perennials that survive below freezing temperatures, going dormant in winter and returning each spring.
  2. 2. The flowers produce a nectar that all butterfly species benefit from.
  3. 3. Monarch butterflies deposit their eggs on the plant; once the caterpillar emerges, they eat the leaves. 
  4. 4. Honey bees take nectar from the flower.  So planting milkweed in your garden can help provide feeding stations as they fly between crop fields and orchards.
  5. Hummingbirds use the floss from the seed pods to line their nests. 
  6. Native Americans taught early settlers how to properly cook milkweed so it could be safely eaten. (please don't try this at home)
  7. Used as a natural remedy, the milky white sap was applied topically to remove warts and the roots were chewed to cure dysentery.
  8. Roots and leaves were infused and taken to suppress coughs, treat typhus fever and asthma. 
  9. The seeds contain an oil with natural sunscreen properties.                                   
  10. During WWII, milkweed floss was used to stuff life jackets for sailors after the Japaneses cut off  the supply of kapok. A single pound can keep a 150 pound man afloat for hours. 
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Monday, July 8, 2013

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

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