I had always heard this plant referred to as "chigger weed ...

I had always heard this plant referred to as

I had always heard this plant referred to as "chigger weed," and I was told that if I touched it, I would get covered in chiggers (tiny red mites that bite you and cause horrible itching).

I have no idea where that story came from, but this plant isn't any more prone to chiggers than any other plant out there. In fact, it's more commonly known as "butterfly weed," which is much more appealing.

Asclepias tuberosa is a member of the milkweed family, and it's native to eastern and southwestern North America. It's a wonderful plant for attracting butterflies -- not to mention hummingbirds and other pollinators -- and it serves as an important food plant for monarch butterfly caterpillars!

Butterfly weed flowers from early summer to early autumn, and it favors sandy or rocky soil and full sun. It's easy to grow from seed, and if cultivated in a greenhouse, it can go from seed to flowering in three to six months! #BenInNature

This post brought to you by VMNH Corporate Supporter Carter Bank & Trust.

Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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