Monarch butterflies and milkweed go together like love and marriage or whatever other simile you care to use. The point is that milkweed is the one essential plant to sustain monarchs. They sip the nectar, lay their eggs and then the caterpillars feed on the plant. There are different varieties of milkweed and this article is about the Silky Gold asclepias curassavica. To learn more read the article by Angelo52 which I found over on Hub Pages.
A Monarch Butterfly PlantHave you ever found brightly colored caterpillars happily chomping away at one of your flower plants? I have and it was quite a surprise. Turns out this plant with beautiful golden yellow flowers was a favorite Monarch butterfly plant. Now, when I first took a cutting from my neighbor?s plant I had no idea that the plant with the pretty bright yellow flowers was a butterfly magnet. I just liked the look of the plant and the flowers.
This particular member of the milkweed family is known as the Silky Gold milkweed. In my Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on Yellow Milkweed I discuss how the Monarch butterfly larvae eat only milkweed for their sustenance. Across the country the Monarch will find a milkweed plant (there are many varieties out there), sip the nectar out of the flowers, lay a few eggs on the underside of the leaves and then flutter off to find its next meal and larvae host.
Asclepias is the genus name given to milkweed. There are over 140 types of milkweed species known. The plant sap or juice is what gives asclepias its common name of milkweed. The sap, which oozes out when the plant is cut or torn, looks like a slightly, thick milk. Of course, it isn?t milk and you should never drink it since it contains things like alkaloids, latex and cardenolides (basically noxious or poisonous compounds that I would not want to ingest).
The Silky Gold milkweed also has a botanical name. It is called the asclepias curassavica. It shares this name with Scarlet Milkweed or Bloodflower, since it a version of the more common Bloodflower. The difference is that Scarlet or Mexican milkweed has yellow flowers coming out of red buds while the Silky Gold milkweed is completely yellow.
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