Asclepiadaceae / Milkweed
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Historical Lore: The pods of milkweeds may be eaten if boiled twice discarding the first water to remove the bitter taste.
Medical Uses: Listed in the U. S. Pharmacopeia in the 19th century the root
was once widely used for lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis. It was made into a tea or sometimes eaten raw.
Large doses of the root were sometimes used as a purgative. The root was also applied to sores. Warning:
Contains cardiac glycosides which are toxic in large amounts.
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves