Common milkweed (Asclepias                    syriacia).                                                           Copyright 2012 Landscape Restoration,   Inc.

It’s a shame that “weed” is part of the plant name for common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Gardeners who are new to planting natives may get the idea that milkweed should be pulled rather than encouraged and appreciated. Native milkweed plants are essential in attracting butterflies to your property.

Common milkweed blossoming in June.

Copyright 2012 Landscape Restoration, Inc.

Common milkweed and other species within the Asclepias family provide critical habitat for butterflies. Monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants because the larvae can only develop on milkweed. Common milkweed is easy to establish in sunny locations and tolerates moist or dry soil conditions. Orioles use the fiber from old milkweed stems for nest building.

Ironically, the alien plant “butterfly bush” (Buddleja spp.) does not support the reproduction of a single species of butterfly. I think some botanist of yore got confused when determining the naming convention of these two species . . . but don’t blame it on the weed.

Go native. Go milkweed.

Cheryl Jirik
Landscape Restoration, Inc.

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