Meet the Plant: Butterfly Milkweed

By Horticulture Intern

Butterfly Milkweed 6-17-16Asclepias tuberosa, commonly known as Butterfly milkweed, is a perennial flower found in most of the Continental United States and the eastern part of Canada. This flower grows to be two to three feet tall, thriving the most in full sun and well drained soils. Butterfly milkweed blooms midsummer or late summer/early fall, attracting butterflies and other pollinators, most notably the Monarch butterfly.

The Monarch butterfly migrates south to Mexico and South America during the winter, though it spends summer in North America. This butterfly lays its eggs solely on milkweed, as the larvae will feed on the plant after it matures. Due to this intricate relationship, the demise of milkweed causes issues for the Monarch butterfly. Development, herbicides, and smog pose threats to the milkweed population and survival, therefore dually impacting Monarch butterfly populations.

Kate Love, 2016 Horticulture Intern, Senior at Western Kentucky University

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