Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. The flower consists of five petals pointing down and … It is tolerant of light shade, but generally is a full sun species. Eggs and larvae were left in place after counting. Breeding for traits that change a plant’s form, foliage color, floral display, or phytochemistry could alter cues used by specialist insects in host recognition or acceptance, perhaps to the extent that the insect no longer recognizes or accepts the cultivar as food (Baisden et al., 2018). Despite some differences in plant defensive characteristics (trichomes, latex, and cardenolides), larval growth, development, and survival were similar on milkweeds within each group. denotes significant within-species difference from straight species by 2-tailed Dunnett’s test (. Patches of open, low-maintenance grassland were sprayed with glyphosate to kill existing vegetation, tilled, and covered with weed barrier cloth. Its sap, leaves and flowers also provide food. Native plants also support numerous species of pollen-specialist native bees (Fowler, 2016). Young shoots up to around half a foot long can be cooked like asparagus. Overwintering Milkweed Plants. Breeding, marketing, and use of native plant cultivars is widespread and growing in the horticulture industry. “Keep it consistently moist, not wet.” These native milkweed plants are specially adapted to succeed in that location. To enhance this effect the bugs congregate in semi-social groups. Native bee populations are declining (Cameron et al., 2011; Koh et al., 2016) and millions of urban pollinator gardens are being planted to help their plight (Phillips, 2019). Consequently, many native plant species have been selected or bred for extended flowering, novel color, size, or morphology of flowers or foliage, compactness, or other aesthetic characteristics, with frequent new cultivar introductions (Wilde, Gandhi & Colson, 2015). Source: USDA Plants Database as of November 15, 2017. Many wild milkweed plants, often considered weeds, will grow happily wherever they sprout without any “help” from gardeners. (E–H) Ascelpias tuberosa: (E) Wild Type, (F) ’Blonde Bombshell’, (G) ’Gay Butterflies’, (H) ’Hello Yellow’. Some Monarchs live as adult butterflies only for a few weeks to a few months, so it is the eggs they lay along the journey that become the new Monarchs that continue the journey. Sightings. Chi-square analyses were used to compare proportionate representation of bee families in samples from the wild type and cultivars within each milkweed species. Fruits (pods) are about 10 centimeters (4 inches) long, inflated and covered in little finger-like projections. You can also choose to receive updates via daily or weekly email digests. Accordingly, this is a wonderful horticultural plant for landscaping to attract butterflies (particularly monarchs), whose numbers are declining and migratory routes changing due to lack of appropriate habitat. Depending on their traits, some native plant cultivars seem to support pollinators, specialist insect folivores, and insect-based vertebrate food webs as effectively as native plant species, whereas others do not. Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. It is frequently found in fence rows, on roadsides, in fields, and in prairies and pastures. It is a great host plant for many beneficial insects including Monarch butterflies, bees, beetles, a… April 5, 2008, Shasta Fairgrounds, Anderdon, CA. Baker AM, Redmond CT, Malcolm SB, Potter DA. Milkweed cultivars within a single parental species group may offer a similar spectrum. Impact of native plants on bird and butterfly biodiversity in suburban landscapes, Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees, Garden flowers: insect visits and the floral reward of horticulturally-modified variants, Native and invasive plants sold by the Mid-Atlantic nursery industry. Native Range: AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, NE, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, WV. What are the justifications for ‘native only’ policies in landscape plantings? Milkweed species are the only plants that Monarch caterpillars feed on. Milkweed also tenderizes meats. Although probably not appropriate for use in natural areas where maintaining a reservoir of genetic variability is important for plant population resilience, use of native milkweed cultivars in pollinator gardens can help support the urban public’s contribution to monarch and native bee conservation. 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