Staple food for Monarchs…

Monarch butterflies have officially been listed as endangered in Illinonis. To help with their survival Lincoln Park’s South Pond hosts an extensive prairie as erosion control using native species. Two of these natives are the familiar Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), in the foreground and Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in the background. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg
Swamp Milkweed is the preferred home for Monarch buttefly egg laying and caterpillar growth. Its milky sap is toxic to humans and many wildlife. So consuming the plants provides a natural protection for Monarch butterflies; predators know to avoid eating a Monarch. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg
Clusters of bright orange flowers are the main identification for Butterfly Weed which is also in the Milkweed family. The leaves however are rough and therefore not a choice for egg laying by Monarch butterflies while the caterpillars do enjoy dining on the plant. Both species of Milkweed are worthy additions to a butterfly garden. Both species produce the toxic milky sap as Monarch butterfly protection, though this Butterfly Weed is less toxic than the Swamp Milkweed. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg
Complex and worth a close look. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg

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