Whorled milkweed is named for the arrangement of the narrow leaves, which extend from nodes on the stem like spokes from a axle. Milkweeds are becoming famous among us for their chemistry, and the way it interacts with monarch butterflies. Historically, that chemistry led to many medicinal uses by Indians. Whorled milkweed was used as a sudorific (producing sweat), stimulant and to treat snakebite by the Choctaw, as a gynocological medicine by Hopi and Navajo, and for nose and throat ailments by the Navajo. The Hopi ate the young shoots and leaves after careful cooking.
Yesterday the crew that removes weeds from Ives Preserve went to the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea. It was a tough presentation about someone looking for her heritage and finding weeds. And the redemption of love that happens when you don't even know it was needed. Powerfully performed! Thanks again Sam for the setup.