Flowering Milkweed

The common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a wildflower that is native to most of North America.  Plants of the milkweed genus are the only food that caterpillars of the monarch butterfly will eat.  Milkweed contains toxins that accumulate in the caterpillars and makes them poisonous, so they are less likely to be eaten.

Common milkweed can get quite tall (six feet or two meters) and are rather imposing, which is probably one reason that other milkweed species are more popular with most gardeners.  They also spread fairly aggressively.

milkweed_01

The flowers grow in a cluster and produce a pleasant fragrance.  They attract bees.

milkweed_bee01

milkweed_bee02

milkweed_bee03

The bees apparently attract spiders.  I found a couple of bees caught in spider webs, as in the photo below.  The spider (on the left) is much smaller than the bee.

milkweed_bee_spider01

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About brianbreczinski

work: chemist, NMR manager; hobbies: gardening, reading, photography, electronics, biking, woodworking
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4 Responses to Flowering Milkweed

  1. Pingback: Summer Flowers 02 | gardenblog2013

  2. Pingback: Bees | gardenblog2013

  3. Pingback: Mantis | gardenblog2013

  4. Pingback: Fall Flowers & Foliage | gardenblog2013

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