Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meet The Milkweeds

I always look forward to the arrival of a few Monarch Butterflies, so they will lay some eggs on the Milkweed and we can have our own hatch back here in the woods. They were really slow to show up this year, I had about given up..but one did and she laid some eggs! Chance will show you!

I tried to get him to use his nose as a pointer..hey he isn't perfect but we are in the ballpark! This plant is located at the edge of my garage, it is a Swamp Milkweed or Asclepias incarnata 'Ice Ballet'... Click on photo to enlarge.


The caterpillars are eating and growing.. I have really enjoyed watching them. The more Milkweed you have ..the more larvae you will be able to support. Yes, they eat the plants leaves..yes the plants don't look so great after awhile. We used to ask our customers..with or without? Some would look puzzled..then we would point out the Caterpillars.. most people wanted to take larvae home on their plant..others insisted on plants without "those creepy crawly bugs. " It was one way to separate the Conservationists from the non conservation minded people. Milkweed is the ONLY source of food for the larval stage of the Monarch butterfly..

This is Asclepias incarnata also but a pink variety. It might be 'Cinderella' or it may be just a seedling variation. Sorry it is still in the bud stage, I wanted it to bloom, but it is being a real slow poke.

Asclepias tuberosa or Butterfly Weed..I love the vibrant orange color. This plant never gets as many larvae on it. I am not sure why, it may have something to do with the levels of the toxins in their sappy milk. I read once where it varies from plant to plant, and the butterflies know where to lay their eggs for the best results for their offspring.

Common Milkweed or Asclepias syriaca, this is the one that you will see in Minnesota in the ditches..and in large wildflower plantings. It is a very heavy tropical looking plant.

I love the flowers..the unique structure of the hoods and horns ..or more commonly known as a crown..or a star shaped crown ..call it what you want it is a unique flower. On a unique plant, with one unique purpose..to be food for a colorful larvae that becomes a beautiful butterfly. There are thirteen different kinds of Milkweed in Minnesota, I have only shared four from my neck of the woods:)

12 comments:

  1. I have never heard of butterfly weed. It is a great color. I see the bumblebee likes them too. Chance likes to belong and please you. He has a lot of white fur that makes him so handsome. I use to have a milkweed but I cleaned up the area, because I live in town, so it didn't return when I cleared the area next to the alley. Great photos of milkweed and the caterpillar too.

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  2. Ohhhh...what a beautiful Caterpillar. He/She is just gorgeous.

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  3. They are all pretty but I am like you I like that vibrant orange color. Chance is looking like he could care less about the caterpillars. He looks like he is thinking - could you just get the picture taking over because I have got better things to do right now.

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  4. I only have seen the orange around here. Interesting to see and read about all the others.

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  5. I have a patch of milkweed and the patch keeps getting bigger and bigger. I grow it just for the butterflies. After all, they feed my soul, I can feed thier bodies!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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  6. Great post. Informative and inspirational! One of my hidden goals is to see more butterflies around here.

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  7. The photos were great...loved the macro detail!

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  8. Wow, so that is what milkweed looks like. I went and bought a root, and all I ever see flower wise is some tiny little single flowerettes. Hmmmm. they must just grow them bigger where you are.

    Jen

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  9. Now I know all our beautiful wild flowers are milkweed. They are beautiful.
    I absolutely adored your caterpillar. How cute. Your photos are amazing.

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  10. wow .. whenever i see butterflies, I always say "thank you G-d I know you are with us"... Just before my rattlesnake sighting yesterday..

    you have a serious green thumb :)
    gp

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  11. Very pretty flowers. And that caterpillar is delightful!

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  12. I've got common milkweed and swamp milkweed. I should look to see if there is a later blooming variety to add in as well. Beautiful post!

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie