Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is one of my favorite plants for its globe of sweet florets and the bounty of butterflies, bees, and other creatures it attracts.
Within a milkweed stand there is a large community being nourished along with any onlooker’s imagination. A weed of milk . . . common milkweed is abundant in beauty and value to wildlife.
And yes, it has a milky-like sap. But the plant surpasses in every way the common name used to identify it. Linnaeus’s latin name, Asclepias syriaca, is more fitting and falls delicately when spoken.
Asclepias was the Greek god of healing. Clearly, Linnaeus knew of milkweed’s medicinal qualities.
A plant that is so much more than just a ‘weed.’
A honeybee and Sulphur Butterfly dip into the pink folds of milkweed blossoms.
Fritillaries flock to milkweed’s starry flowers and as they flutter from floret to floret the field is more alive and fragrant. I did see a female monarch butterfly nectaring near the fritillary above but could not get a photo. Milkweed plays a vital role in the monarch’s life acting as the host plant for the larva stage of the butterfly. There is more to this story over at my garden blog.