Pleurisy Root (Asclepias tuberosa)
Family: Milkweed (Asclepiadaceae)
Hardiness: to -20° F
Strikingly beautiful herb, with tresses of deep yellow and orange flowers, sometimes nearly red. This herb, magnetizes monarchs and feeds nectar to the bees through it's vibrant blossoms and leaves.
Herbaceous perennial native to the American prairies. The root (as suggested by the species name) delves deep and is very tough. The root, which has a peculiar terebinthe odor, is dried and made into a low-dose tea or tincture for treating pleurisy, which is the inflammation of the serous membrane, and can be quite a painful affliction. The herb is seldom used in current herbal practice, although sometimes used, and is mainly planted for display. Plant prefers full sun and regular watering. Will survive in low-fertility areas and will cohabit happily with grasses. Sow the seed in the early spring. Tap-rooted plants are best sown in-situ, in the garden bed. The seed is a good cold-soil germinator and if you are not planting in the early spring then it is best to pre-treat the seeds in moist medium in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for 2 weeks before sowing warm. Germination is relatively fast and quite rewarding, as the seedlings are large and characteristically shaped. Large plants are best spaced at least 2 feet apart. Flowers to 3 feet tall.