Milkweed and Butterflies

We live along a gravel road, and on both sides there is plenty of common milkweed.

Common milkweed, like most milkweed species, can be quite fragrant at times and is attractive to many different pollinators.  I especially like it when I am chasing butterflies.

We know that milkweed is a caterpillar host plant for monarchs.  However, I like the way the plant attracts other butterflies.  With the flowers in sort of a loose ball, the butterflies are often found in unusual positions.

Red admirals are common but always colorful.

Small butterflies like this dun skipper can often be found on the blooms if you look closely.

Banded hairstreaks are small, only have one generation per year, and are only present as adults for about two weeks each year.  Therefore it is a special treat to find one.

This banded hairstreak was back lit, and sunlight was hitting the fringes on the edge of its wings.  I had never seen that before.

And, I found an Edward’s hairstreak.  I have seen and photographed them before this, but never this close to home.

If you have some common milkweed, take the time to examine it closely.  You might find some nice surprises.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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One Response to Milkweed and Butterflies

  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! says:

    Common milkweed is weedy but oh, so fragrant! Why don’t the monarchs find my patch I wonder?

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