Milkweed and the Monarch Butterfly

During the past few days, I’ve noticed splashes of orange flowers either side of the electricity pylon corridor between Harts Woods and the canal. I wasn’t sure what they were, as I’d been told they were a vetch and consequently couldn’t find any information on them. Then I found a photo of the flower with a Monarch butterfly caterpillar lunching on it, and so I immediately knew it was a milkweed. Googling ‘orange milkweed’ solved the mystery.

You can order the seeds here

It’s no wonder this plant’s name isn’t clear. Wiki says common names include butterfly weed, Canada root, chieger flower, chiggerflower, fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, orange milkweed, orange root, orange Swallow-wort, pleurisy root, silky swallow-wort, tuber root, yellow milkweed, white-root, windroot, butterfly love, butterflyweed, and butterfly milkweed. Phew!

Butterfly Milkweed or Asclepias tuberosa is a species of milkweed native to eastern North America

How you can help the Monarch Butterfly? It’s under threat and declining, and Dog-Strangling Vine (DSV) or Swallow-wort is a major contributor, as it tricks the butterfly into laying eggs on it, but they don’t survive. It’s hardly surprising, because if you crush the leaves of this plant, you’ll find it has an obnoxious aroma suggesting it’s toxic. Here’s a video showing how to remove DSV, which will help the Monarch butterfly.

Planting milkweed in local gardens can help, and you can order seeds for little money here..Seed Needs U.S.A.

Swamp Milkweed
Common Milkweed

Hairy Balls or Balloon Plant Milkweed

Balloon Milkweed

Balloon  Milkweed is a native of South Africa, so I’d suggest not planting this, but it does show a great variety in the Milkweed family.

The Monarch is disappearing!


Author: Mike Caswell

I live in Fairport, and my home is at The Oxbow section of The Erie Canal. I fish, have a pontoon boat and like messing in boats. (see I'm retired and enjoy every day living here with my wife Carol and our two dogs.

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