I discovered Flower Friday last year while visiting Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having a blast sharing some flower pictures and information. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!
Today’s Flower is:
I just adore these large spherical pink/purplish flowers. They have a wonderful smell too, so if you happen to stumble upon one of these beauties, don’t forget to take a whiff.
I used to pull these out of our landscaping and fence lines, until I learned how important they are for butterflies and bees. Common milkweed contains glycosides and this plant is the sole source of food for monarch butterfly larva. When they eat this plant, it makes the larvae and adult butterflies toxic to birds and other predators.
Milkweed seems to be proliferating everywhere this year, especially in a pasture we just freshly tilled this spring. According to http://www.wildflower.org, common milkweed’s persistence is dependent on disturbance. Here’s the pasture we tilled which consists of a fairly nutrient deficient soil. Normally, they prefer moist soil, but this soil gets beat down by the sun daily and it’s growing just fine here.
Milkweed can get up to 8 feet tall in ditches and gardens. Here’s a picture of one growing along our fence, amongst a few lilies and sedums. It’s roughly 6 feet tall at this point.
Here’s one just starting to bloom…
Milkweed needs a lot of sun and doesn’t require much care at all. You can often see it growing on the sides of the road and in ditches. Common milkweed produce seeds and also propagate from rhizomes. You can buy seeds online and grow some of your own to enjoy every year.
- Scientific Name: Asclepias syriaca
- Other names: butterfly flower, silky swallow-wort, silkweed, and Virginia silkweed
- Native to the USA and Canada
- Fun fact: poisonous and not recommended for eating
Here is a picture of the butterfly weed I talked about earlier this year. It’s growing like crazy! This is a milkweed member. It’s much more compact and a beautiful orange.
I hope you enjoyed today’s Flower Friday. Do you have common milkweed growing where you live? I’d love to hear about some of the flowers you’re enjoying this year. Please feel free to leave comments below if you’d like to chat.