Milkweeds’ Place In Nature

Milkweed is a common native plant in this region and is recognized by its milky sap and umbral flower head. Milkweed is found in eastern Canada and the continental United States except for the Northwest, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

Swamp milkweed like the specimen below, is one of the largest milkweed, growing to over five feet. It’s a common plant in rain gardens and has fragrance that attracts many kinds of insects, including monarchs. Monarch butterflies feed on its leaves as caterpillars, feed on its nectar as an adult, and lay eggs on its leaves.

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Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa L.) is a kind of milkweed with long-lasting orange flowers. It grows best in full sun in dry conditions. This milkweed is an attractive addition to the garden and it attracts many insects, including monarchs.

Butterfly milkweed grows by its taproot and overwinters well but it is a challenge to grow from seed. Once established, the butterfly milkweed is an easy care plant.

Milkweeds are herbaceous herbs and a form of milkweed is called Pleurisy root because of its use in treating pleurisy in former times. There are many native forms of milkweeds and they contribute to Nature’s web.

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