Sunday, August 18, 2019

Butterfly Weed Works

This is butterfly weed, Asclepia tuberosa, a native milkweed that is a host for monarch butterflies. I raised some from seeds and planted the seedlings in my yard to see if I could attract monarchs. Click to enlarge.
A monarch like this one (on another kind of milkweed in this photo) found my small stand of butterfly weed and laid eggs on it. Yay!
They grew like crazy, eating leaf after leaf. Here are two of them tag-teaming a leaf. But then it became clear that they were eating at such a pace that they would soon run out. I think I'll have a bigger supply next year after the plants spread, but this year I'm limited.
So I gathered them up with some leaves for the trip and took them to a spot I know where there is a lot of milkweed. Did I mention there are 7 caterpillars? Can you spot them all?
Here's where I took them -- a big butterfly garden with lots of common milkweed to eat.
Here they are spreading out in their new digs.
Seven more of these coming soon.

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