I’m always happy when the milkweed starts blooming. Yes, I know it’s a weed, but its the food plant of the Monarch butterfly caterpillar, and if that weren’t enough, it smells so good. I’ve been toying with trying to extract the essential oil from the flowers and bottling that scent for year-round enjoyment. I tried last year and got a few drops of oil from my rigged distillation set-up and several cups of floral esseence, but neither smelled like much – not enough there. I’m going to try with the steamer/juicer we found last year (after I’d tried with the pots and ice set-up). I may wind up with a mess. The sap of milkweed is milky, hence the name, and bitter to the taste. I’m afraid I’ll harvest that bitterness and not the sweet scent. But it’s worth a try – we have a ton of milkweed in the field. Happy experimenting time!
— Naturalist —