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Friday, May 11, 2018

Beautiful But Deadly Wildflower

Butter-weed is part of the aster family of flowers. There are two different forms of butter-weed (1) an annual  (2) biennial forms a low rosette of basal leaves. This plant appears in early spring and grows between 1 to 3 feet tall. The stem in the central is hollow and stout with light green or reddish green coloring. The leaves of the plant are alternate leaves that are 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches across. As the leaves ascend they become smaller.

The flowerheads of this plant are about 1/2 inch across. The flowerheads resemble disk florets are golden yellow. The plant blooms from mid - spring to early summer and last 1-2 months. The scent of the pleasant floral scent of flowerheads resembles the fragrance of buttercups. By mid to late summer the Butter-weed plant dies down.

Bees, flies and other small insects are attracted to Butter-weed. The insects feed on the nectar from the plant. Most wildlife will avoid eating this plant as it is toxic. The plant contains an alkaloid called pyrrolizidine that can cause liver damage.

Butter-weed form a puff ball like dandelions do and blow away in the wind. 

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