With its diminutive stature and greenish-yellow flowers, Savannah milkweed (Asclepias pedicellata) is oft overlooked in its native pineland and prairie habitats. It blooms late spring through fall, peaking in summer. Its flowers are attractive to bees, wasps and butterflies. Like all members of the Asclepias genus, Savannah milkweed is a larval host plant for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies. The plant contains a milky latex that is toxic to most animals, but Monarch, Queen and Soldier caterpillars are adapted to feed on them despite the chemical defense.
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a perennial that produces large, showy clusters of bright orange to reddish flowers from spring through fall. It occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods, and other sandy uplands as well as along sunny roadsides. It is an exception to the Asclepias genus in that its stem does not contain the milky latex that distinguishes the rest of the genus and gives it the common name “milkweed.”
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.
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.
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) has showy pink flowers that typically bloom in summer and attracts many pollinators. It is a larval host for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies.
Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) is one of the smaller, more delicate native milkweeds and is easily overlooked when not in bloom. It flowers late spring through late summer/early fall.
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.
With its narrow leaves and fine stems, Carolina milkweed (Asclepias cinerea) can get lost among the wiregrass with which it typically grows.
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.
Pinewoods milkweed (Asclepias humistrata) blooms in spring and summer, attracting many pollinators including wasps and butterflies. It is a larval host for Monarch and Queen butterflies.
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.
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.