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This species of milkweed is native to eastern North America. It is a perennial plant and prefers dry, sand or gravel soil, but also has been seen near streams. Extracts were used by Native Americans as an expectorant for wet coughs and other pulmonary ailments. It is commonly known as Butterfly Weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and the generous amount of nectar it produces.