The “Other” Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

18 July

Butterfly weed, is a species of milkweed native to eastern and southwestern North America. It is commonly known as butterfly weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also a larval food plant of the queen and monarch butterflies, as well as the dogbane tiger moth, milkweed tussock moth, and the unexpected cycnia. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted. It is not a preferred host plant of the monarch butterfly but caterpillars can be reared on it successfully. However, it is one of the very lowest Asclepias species in cardenolide content, making it a poor source of protection from bird predation and parasite virulence.