Milkweed: Tough Native

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in fall, insects, leaves, Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 0 comments

Usually when I spy a plant bursting forth from a crack in the cement like this, it’s a non-native plant, an invasive “weed” of some sort. I tend to think of native plants as timid souls, needing shade and rich forest loam–dainty wildflowers, fragile ferns, like that. But milkweed, a native American plant, packs a bit of muscle, it seems. It pokes up in all sorts of unexpected places.milkweed in cement

Milkweed is the plant where Monarch butterflies are concerned–common milkweed and a few other closely related plants in the Asclepias genus are the only plants Monarchs will lay eggs on, and the only plants that they’ll eat while they’re caterpillars. And the little caterpillars can chew their way through an amazing number of those floppy, oval leaves in their short lives. Once they become butterflies, they’re less picky, and will sip nectar from anywhere, but they’ll never attain those gorgeous orange wings without milkweed.

Monarch butterflies are a rare sight this summer. So I’m always happy to see milkweed anywhere it wants to muscle its way in.milkweed hardy growth

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