Shade Metals

Species Specific Botanical Jewelry

milkweed plants

Milkweed, Butterfly (Asclepias tuberosa)

Sara & Cesar

NATIVE RANGE:

Eastern North America

DESCRIPTION:

Medium sized shrub growing up to 3 feet tall, with copious orange and yellow flowers and simple, alternate leaves.

butterfly-milkweed-flowers ID 10038092 © Mark Herreid | Dreamstime.com

butterfly-milkweed-flowers ID 10038092 © Mark Herreid | Dreamstime.com


butterfly-milkweed-flowers-with-monarch-caterpillars ID 104483452 © Pavol Stredansky | Dreamstime.com

butterfly-milkweed-flowers-with-monarch-caterpillars ID 104483452 © Pavol Stredansky | Dreamstime.com

SYMBIOSIS:

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants, no other plant serves as a nursery for their babies. When the caterpillars hatch, they eat the semi-toxic leaves, and thereby become less desirable prey to other species.

In return for providing such a protective environment at a vulnerable age, the monarch butterflies continually visit the plant for nectar and pollination. With their extensive travels (annual migration can be up to 3000 miles) the butterflies spread milkweed pollen over a vast area and promote the genetic diversity of this plant.