Also known as Tropical Milkweed, Mexican Butterfly Weed and Bloodflower. Ornamental flowering plant and excellent for attracting monarch butterflies. A great plant to have in a garden for kids so they can learn about the lifecycle of the butterflies. The umbel like heads of red, yellow, orange or white also make a good cut flower – dips stems in hot water first.
The latex of the plant as well as the roots, leaves, and flowers are used medicinally. The root is febrifuge, with a decoction used in the treatment of dysentery and as an eyewash for infected eyes. The root contains a glycoside, asclepiadin, which is used as an emetic and purgative, however in large doses it can be lethal. A paste made of the crushed leaves, combined with salt, vegetable oil and bread, is used for treating skin ulcers. The plant contains an abundant white latex which is applied to warts and corns in order to kill them. Caution advised. May also be toxic to stock.
A number of species of plants in this family have been used for fiber crops for millennia. They are dual-purpose fibres, offering bast fibres from the stem and seed finer or ‘floss’ in the fruit pods. The stem fibres are used for spinning, partly in mixture with cotton, whilst the seed hairs are used as a stuffing material for pillows. Many have also been identified as potential hydrocarbon crops due to high latex content.
Half hardy perennial. Height to 100cm. Certified organic plant.