Butterflyweed doing great!

efeuerJuly 6, 2014

Asclepias tuberosa is my wintersowing star! I started 9 or 10 plants from seed this winter, with varying results. But the butterfly weed! It is 2 feet tall, branching, and has buds! Nothing else has grown remotely that well.

I saw my first monarch in the yard this morning. It was checking out the cleome, but the cleome is right next to my butterfly weed. So it is possible there are eggs out there somewhere, or maybe will be one of these days. Can I actually use one of these plants? They are so young I am a little worried about harming them. Of course, I can go pick some swamp milkweed or common milkweed somewhere else, but it is a lot easier to use your own!
Liz

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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

I don't recognize the butterfly weed, but the plant next to the cleome looks like the smoking weed. Not sure though, need
a more closeup.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 3:07PM
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efeuer

I assure you it is milkweed! I grew it from seed I collected myself. The cleome looks like marijuana though. Many people have noticed the resemblance.
Liz

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 4:28PM
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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

Oh, those are the cleome leaves, couldn't tell, ha ha.
If the monarch does lay eggs on you butterfly weed, you
might have enough for 2 caterpillars to eat. They have
big appetites when they get large. It should not kill the
plants, because they come back up from the roots.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 8:10PM
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Leafhead

Is that for sure tuberosa? It looks more like incarnata or curassavica...

John

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 12:37AM
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efeuer

Well, I should see some flowers soon. That will clinch it!
Liz

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 1:53PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

What a great looking garden! Love the colors on the cleome.

I agree that the Asclepias might not be tuberosa--the leaves are quite different, almost needle-like. Here is a pic from my garden--it was the beginning of June, but you can get a sense of what the leaves look like. The plant just to the right of the Monarch lets you see the leaves; it gets taller, but the leaves basically look like that.

In your pic, it does look like some other kind--possibly A. incarnata though the leaves look a little more broad.

It'll be fun to see what the blooms bring like you said. :)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:05PM
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Slatewiper

There's no way the is butterfly weed. Doesn't even remotely look right.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:04AM
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cecropia(z5 Oh)

Looks like common milkweed to me.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:38AM
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Tony G(5a)

I agree with slatewiper...it's not tuberosa. it's not common either.

To me, it looks most like incarnata (swamp) but the leaves seem thicker. Let us know when it flowers....

and when your "medicinal" marijuana is ready for purchase ;)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:55AM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

It looks more like swamp or tropical milkweed to me too. If you saw it in bloom the tropical can be yellow, orange, and red which is more likely to be confused with the similarly colored a. tuberosa.... than the white or pink flowers of swamp milkweed.

The cleome comments made me laugh too. One year I did a whole big bed of cleome with seeds from a seed swap. Before it flowered quite a few people thought I had gotten mislabeled pot and that I was going to get in trouble if anyone found it!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:18PM
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efeuer

Okay guys, time for me to eat crow. Should've listened to those of you who were older and wiser. My "butterfly weed" is swamp milkweed, and my "swamp milkweed" is butterfly weed. Must've mixed up the jugs, or mislabeled them. Probably the latter.

The plants in the picture haven't opened their flowers yet, but they are starting to show a little pink. The other ones, however, are much smaller, with needle like leaves, and they opened their pretty orange flowers yesterday. I also have a few tropical milkweed plants popping up. I grew them last year and this year I got a few volunteers. I didn't bother to grow them again (on purpose) because they didn't attract any butterflies last year. Not only no monarchs, but nothing nectared on them either. They are pretty though.

Now for a little advice. The swamp milkweeds are doing fabulous where they are, but they really are a little big to be bordering the front walk. The butterfly weeds are in too damp and shady a location, so I would like to move them to a better spot. Can I transplant them now? It is pretty hot. Also, I understand they are Rooted and don't like to be moved very much.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:59PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I'd probably leave them be till dormancy if it were me. They've made it so far....

Plants are adaptable, and even though they don't like being moved...you can get away with it sometimes.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:03PM
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efeuer

Here is the "butterfly weed."

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:04PM
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efeuer

And here is the "swamp milkweed."

Honestly, I feel a little foolish.
Liz

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:06PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Yeah for the blooms! Don't worry about the misidentification--we all do it, and now you will always know what the seedlings look like. It's like how you have to kill a plant before you really understand it (an old saying)--you have to try to identify and make mistakes. No biggie.

What kind is the top Asclepias? Common?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:41PM
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efeuer

No, that's the swamp (Incarnata) flowering in the bottom picture.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:10PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Just trying to clarify for everyone. I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all. The orange blossoms with narrow leaves is Asclepias tuberosa, often called Butterfly Weed. The other plant is in the Asclepias family, but I am not expert enough to make a definite ID. The leaves appear wider than my A. incarnata, and the budding blossoms are also a bit different. I wonder if someone over on the plant ID forum could help.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:22AM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

I agree the 1st picture doesn't quite line up with how my incarnata looks either--those leaves are usually thinner, and slightly glossy and not hairy, although this pic is also very close-up.

The second picture with the orange flowers is definitely A. tuberosa. I've attached a picture of one in my garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: A. tuberosa

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:27AM
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efeuer

The plant with the pinkish flowers was collected from wild plants growing at the edge of a pond in my town. I think the possibility of them being anything non-native, such as tropical, is zero. I visited that pond every week all summer long and saw the plants in bloom. There were a great many of them growing on the water's edge, all with rich pink flowers. There was also a lot of common milkweed growing there, but it had flowered much earlier and the flowers were dusty pink or mauve. The plants are also a lot of coarser.

The plant with the pinkish flowers was collected from wild plants growing at the edge of a pond in my town. I think the possibility of there being anything non-native, such as tropical, is zero. I visited that pond every week all summer long and saw the plants in bloom. There were a great many of them growing on the waters edge, all with rich pink flowers. There was also a lot of common milkweed growing there, but it had flowered much earlier and the flowers were dusty pink or mauve. The plants are also a lot of coarser.

Still, I was surprised just now when I looked up the information from the New Jersey Native Plant Society on the species of milkweed that grow in the state. Apparently, there are 11 native species of milkweed here-amplexicaulis (clasping), exaltata (poke), incarnata (swamp), lanceolata (fewflower), purpurascens (purple), rubra (red), syriaca (common), tuberosa (butterfly weed), variegata (redring), verticillata (whorled), and viridiflora (green comet). I had no idea! Now I will have to look up pictures on all of them. I have no doubt, however, that these are milkweeds. And the milkweed bugs think so too.

Martha-you are not a know it all. I am beginning to think maybe I am a know nothing! Or at least-"a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." I will wait and see what these look like when they have actually opened. Then I'll post another picture. And perhaps also on the plant ID forum. I also want to give you a public shout out of thanks for the gorgeous seeds you sent. The zinnias and tithonias are really beautiful. I just wish I had known how huge those Mexican sunflowers get. I would have spaced them further apart! At any rate, they are really beautiful. They are poking out through the fence, and the deer haven't even eaten them.
Liz

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:30AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'm so glad you are having success with the seeds I sent. I'm jealous that your Tithonia is doing so well. I've grown them three years in a row and each time I get very poor germination. Then, due to other varied mishaps, I have ended up with just one plant that actually blooms. Same thing now. I had planted two seedlings several weeks ago, but today there is only one plant left.

But, I'm having a great day in the garden. I saw a Monarch exploring my yard and those of my immediate neighbors. It was alone, and don't seem to stop for rest, nectar, or lay eggs. I wasn't close enough to see whether it was male or female, but I'm guessing it is looking for a partner. I'll keep checking my milkweed plants.

Later, I was collecting ripe seeds from a Blue-Eyed Grass plant, when a Red Admiral actually landed on my hand! It stayed there long enough for me to get my phone out of my pocket and even take several pictures. But, I haven't figured out how to send them to my iPad to show them here. I need my teenagers to help. Anyway, it was quite a thrill. I don't know whether they will lay eggs again this season, or fatten up for winter. Better go read up on that. I did grow stinging nettles just for them, since False Nettles don't sprout here until quite late.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day.

Martha

1 Like    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:37PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hey Dr. Liz, chiming in late here but yes looks like the two species were mixed up in the containers. Just one of those not-uncommon wsing mishaps! If you want to move the plants I would wait until they start to die back in the fall and move carefully - A. incarnata is easy to move, A. tuberosa not so much. Smaller plants should do okay though.

I've got some A. incarnata plants from are from seeds I collected along the wetlands behind my rental house, the only place I've ever seen it growing in the wild around here. It has fat leaves like your plants. Unfortunately the deer or some dumb critter really likes those fat leaves, and have been chomping them down, while the 2 plants with skinnier leaves from another seed source are 3 feet tall and bushy

At least I have plenty of A. incarnata foliage this year to feed the 5 baby caterpillars (feeling very fortunate to have any Monarch activity this year).

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 7:24AM
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efeuer

Congrats, terrene! It seems a lot of people are reporting better monarch activitiy this summer. Those incarnata plants are unbelievably vigorous. I can't believe this is their first year from seed. They have branched and they're budding off the secondary branches. The largest plants have half a dozen bloom clusters-the main one at the top of the plant and sprouts from numerous axils with buds on them as well. I had planned to put these plants elsewhere, but they are doing so well I am reluctant to move them to another part of the garden. I may just move them back from the edge and face them down with something shorter.

Fortunately, the deer don't seem to be interested in them-at least not so far. They are in an unprotected location, not in the fenced in portion of my yard.
Liz

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:45AM
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dragonflydee

Yes,that last pict is a very clear example of tuberosa.

I have 5 tubers that have lived in my perennials bed for a while
Some of them are actually offshoots or seeds from the first one I
Planted.
I only see Monarchs once in a while when they drop down in
Here from the ridge.

They always nectar at the purple thistle blooms if available.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:37PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

In your photos, the orange blossoming one is Tuberosa and the other is Syriaca.

There are so many types of 'butterfly weed' that sometimes it is better to ID by their botanical name.

I enjoy all of them and have a little collection of sorts... Incarnata, both white an pink (native here), Syriaca, Speciosa, Tuberosa, and Curassavica,

I know there are more, but I'm renting and have to hold back. :O)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:41PM
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woollybear69(9b Fla.)

Three beautiful photos.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2014 at 12:36PM
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