Asclepias curassavica Milkweed  
Monarch Butterfly proboscis sipping nectar from a yellow Asclepias curassavica milkweed flower
Most of us know about Monarchs and Milkweed. Did you know that other butterflies use it too?
Asclepias curassavica milkweed flower

This reddish butterfly is called a Queen Butterfly. She is nectaring on Asclepias curassavica Milkweed. Her proboscis is sticking into the flower. It's like a long straw that she uncurls to sip nectar from the flower. When butterflies drink flower nectar, we call the flowering plants they use Nectar Plants.

Queen Butterfly nectaring on a Scarlet Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica milkweed flower
Monarch Butterfly abdomen tipped up laying an egg under the green leaf of an Asclepias curassavica milkweed flower
Monarch and Queen Butterflies also lay eggs on; Asclepias curassavica, so we call it their Host Plant. This Monarch  butterfly is laying an egg beneath the Milkweed leaf.
Butterfly egg on an Asclepias curassavica milkweed leaf, reddish-orange and yellow milkweed flowers
Here is a butterfly egg on top of a Milkweed leaf. The egg is the tiny white dot to the left of the flowers.
Asclepias, often called Scarlet Milkweed even though there is also a yellow flowered variety, is a great butterfly garden plant. It grows a couple of feet tall and makes an attractive flower. Since it's both a host and a nectar plant, it's all you need to start your butterfly garden and attract two of our largest butterflies, the Monarch and Queen.
After butterflies or other bugs pollinate the Milkweed flowers, you'll see seed pods start to form. This small seed pod still has the wilted flower attached to the end of the pod.
Plants are a food source for many little bugs. You might find little tiny bugs like these aphids slurping on your Milkweed which will, in turn, attract other bugs that eat aphids. It can turn into quite a reality show in miniature with daily episodes in your yard, or in a flower pot on your patio. Bring a magnifying glass; the aphids are quite small.
Once the seeds are ripe, the pod splits open lengthwise. Milkweed seeds have a plume of fine silken threads that help float them on the breeze to disperse them over a wide area. Kids, and this grownup, enjoy blowing them like a dandelion puffball and watching the sunlight glint off the threads as they hover in the air.
Hyalymenus bugs on an open Milkweed seedpod.
Remember that butterfly egg? Those hatch into wild looking caterpillars like this Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar that is eating the seed pod.
Asclepias curassavica Milkweed, Yellow Flowered Variety
Yellow Asclepias curassavica milkweed flowers
Young Asclepias curassavica milkweed seedpod with the wilted flower still attached to the tip
Asclepias curassavica milkweed seed pod covered in aphids
When you plant a butterfly garden, you plant an ecosystem, and your garden turns into a mini-conservation area for all sorts of neat critters! I've found ladybugs, snails, spiders, ants, aphids, scale, Pseudodoros clavatus larva, Hyalymenus bugs, Milkweed Beetles, and of course, butterfly caterpillars on my Asclepias Milkweeds. Don't let that deter you; the bugs have to live somewhere and eat something. If you don't provide Milkweed most of them, butterflies excluded, will simply find some other plant to call home.
Milkweed is very attractive to aphids. Don't worry, aphids are very attractive to lady bugs, so eventually the lady bugs will find the aphids on your Milkweed Plants and eat them up. These yellow pointy ovals on my Milkweed leaf are Ladybug Eggs.
I see a lot of Lacewing eggs and larva while I'm out looking at my plants, but I rarely see Lacewings themselves. They fly, so it's easy for them to get away when I get too close. This one was trapped, and pretty nearly dead. It visited my Milkweed flower and fell prey to this spider. See the spider legs holding it from beneath the flower?
It's funny; I have this orchid that at a glance looks a lot like Asclepias curassavica Milkweed. I've seen both Monarch and Queen butterflies try to nectar on it, so they must be attracted to the colors or appearance, because I really doubt that it smells the same to them.
Asclepias curassavica milkweed seedpod split open with the seeds showing
Asclepias curassavica milkweed seedpod, seed, silken haired parachute with seed, and two Hyalymenus bugs crawling on it
Asclepias curassavica milkweed seeds on their silk threads
Monarch caterpillar on an Asclepias curassavica milkweed seedpod
snail on a milkweed leaf
mealybug scale on milkweed
Monarch butterfly caterpillar eating a Milkweed flower bud
Spider on a Asclepias curassavica milkweed flower
Eight oblong yellow pointed Ladybug eggs under a Milkweed leaf
Dying Lacewing bug hanging from the grip of the spider that's eating it beneath an Asclepias curassavica milkweed flower
Orchid that resembles an Asclepias curassavica milkweed flower
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