Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias perennis) blooms in late spring through early fall and attracts many pollinators. It is a larval host plant for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies.

Largeflower milkweed

Largeflower milkweed

Largeflower milkweed (Asclepias connivens) is a perennial wildflower found throughout much of Florida. Its conspicuous flowers appear in late spring through summer in moist pine flatwoods, savannahs and bogs.

Fewflower milkweed

Fewflower milkweed

Fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata) is a delicate wildflower found in swamps and moist to wet pinelands and prairies throughout Florida. Its stunning orange flowers typically bloom late spring through fall.

Longleaf milkweed

Longleaf milkweed

Longleaf milkweed (Aslcepias longifolia) typically blooms in spring. It is a larval host for Monarch and Queen butterflies, and an important nectar source for bees and wasps.

Carolina milkweed

Carolina milkweed

With its narrow leaves and fine stems, Carolina milkweed (Asclepias cinerea) can get lost among the wiregrass with which it typically grows.

Milkweed plants for Monarchs installed at retention basin

Milkweed plants for Monarchs installed at retention basin

Almost 300 native milkweed and nectar-providing plants were installed along a highway retention basin on Alt. U.S. Highway 27 near Chiefland Tuesday. The effort is part of a Florida Museum of Natural History pilot project to increase roadside habitat for Monarch butterflies. It is funded in part by the Florida Wildflower Foundation.

Fall wildflowers and grasses feed hungry caterpillars

Fall wildflowers and grasses feed hungry caterpillars

Keep your eyes open along roadsides for milkweeds and other fall-blooming larval host plants that are on display right now. Milkweeds are, of course, the host plant for the Monarch butterfly, but there are many more native wildflowers and grasses critical to the survival of our other butterfly species.

Queen butterfly

Queen butterfly

In the same genus as Monarchs, Queen butterflies share many characteristics with their royal cousins. Queens and Monarchs are similar in appearance, rely on milkweed as a host plant and carry a toxin from milkweed in their bodies into adulthood. Queens do not participate in the same migration as Monarchs, however, and have distinguishing physical differences.

 

 

Effect of Systemic Use for Commercial Nursery Propagation of Asclepias currasavica on Monarch Larvae

People who buy milkweed plants (most commonly Tropical milkweed [Asclepias curassavica]) from big box stores such as Lowes and Home Depot to feed monarch larvae frequently report that their larvae often die after feeding on the purchased plants. This is likely due to the plants being treated with topical or systemic insecticides. However, detailed information concerning the exact chemicals used and their potential impact on monarch larval mortality is poorly understood. This study sought to provide information on insecticides and larval mortality.

Green antelopehorn

Green antelopehorn

Green antelopehorn (Asclepias viridis) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower found in pinelands, pine rocklands and disturbed areas in a few Florida counties. It flowers winter through summer, with peak blooms in spring. Like many members of the milkweed family, Green antelopehorn is a larval host plant for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies. Their caterpillars have adapted to feed on the plant, which contains a milky latex that is toxic to most animals. The flowers are also an important nectar source for bees and wasps.

Prisoners help Monarchs while learning research, horticulture techniques

Prisoners help Monarchs while learning research, horticulture techniques

With a $21,000 grant to the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History, the Florida Wildflower Foundation is supporting a unique research project that will train prison inmates to test and document propagation techniques for milkweed, the only host plant for Monarch butterflies. The grant is made possible by sales of the State Wildflower license plate.

Flower color polymorphism — surprise colors from your favorite plants

Flower color polymorphism — surprise colors from your favorite plants

Don’t let the title scare you off! I’ve been wondering why plants of the same species sometimes occur in different colors, so I did a little research. As you can see from my photos, some common flowers that have appeared in my garden are red and yellow forms of milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and blanketflower (Gaillardia puchella). I also have red, pink and white tropical sage (Salvia coccinea), which I’m sure many of you have also grown. Do you ever have white flower forms of your typically blue spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) or Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis)? Wonder what’s going on?