Help Monarch Butterflies - Plant Swamp Milkweed

Swamp Milkweed Monarch butterfly host plant

Swamp Milkweed Plant Information

Type: Perennial
Bloom Season: Summer Fall
Attracts: Butterflies Hummingbirds
Sun: Sun, Part-Sun
Color: Pink, Purple, White
Soil Type: Clay
Drainage: Muddy
Moisture: Moist, wet
Height: Tall
Planting Width: 2 ft

We are built to survive

The swamp milkweed has shown me a food chain that my perspective about survival and pests (specifically aphids).

If we remember how much living beings go through to survive maybe we can spread awareness and stop people from wasting food, water, and money.

It all starts with one very faithful summer, in which I saw a bunch of tiny yellow insects (small as a tiny mustard).

If I'd sprayed chemicals I would have actually mindlessly destroyed a food chain.

The aphids depend on swamp milkweed to survive, but get eaten by lady bugs. Lady bugs are enjoyed by spiders.

Since spiders are insects, they get consumed by birds.

Birds pollinate Swamp Milkweed, which ensures the next generation of the plant.

Wow, I could have destroyed the next generation of the very plant I would've tried to "Protect".

If we keep wasting important resources, so many people go into poverty.

Just like Swamp Milkweed, we should learn to survive with what we have.

In this Swamp Milkweed had a few small creatures and an active food chain!

That's incredible!

Swamp Milkweed - The generous plant for butterflies and bees 

Swamp Milkweed, it’s something the monarch caterpillars need.

It protects them from mayhem by giving them shelter, so they don’t crawl helter skelter.

And it gives the caterpillar leaves to munch, munch, munch, so the adults can have a bunch of nectar.

What a great thing to do dude.

It’s leaves contain poison, for caterpillar predators it’s annoying.

It’s is a milkweed, which means it fills a special need.

The monarchs need to lay their butterfly eggs, so we have milkweed to do this deed.

Swamp Milkweed, it’s something the monarch caterpillars need.

It protects them from mayhem by giving them shelter, so they don’t crawl helter skelter.

And it gives the caterpillar leaves to munch, munch, munch, so the adults can have a bunch of nectar.

What a great thing to do dude.

This plant blooms in the summer and fall, my oh my does it grow tall.

Mine is already taller than me, oo oo oo oo hee hee hee hee.

It’s bloom colors are white, purple and pink, I gotta say, all this should make me think.

Why do spray, hey hey hey, that’s just being rude to your garden,

you should be begging for a pretty big pardon.

Instead of spraying chemicals, we should start help all creatures, and protect earths amazing features.

Chemicals get washed into our streams, why it just makes me want to scream!!!

It pollutes our air, and makes our family and pets get sick, and we don’t even raise a hair, oh the despair.

And then it hurts the pollinators and the caterpillars who need.

Swamp Milkweed, it’s something the monarch caterpillars need.

It protects them from mayhem by giving them shelter, so they don’t crawl helter skelter.

And it gives the caterpillar leaves to munch, munch, munch, so the adults can have a bunch of nectar.

What a great thing to do dude.

You might not see it but there’s a food chain on this plant, so stop causing pain.

The aphids munch on the leaves but don’t worry, it’s something ladybugs need.

They like eat the aphids, what a nice, yummy treat for the ladybugs.

Then the spider eats the ladybug like it’s apple cider.

But birds love to eat bugs like the spider.

Man, the bird is a real fighter, cause to the spider, it’s a real biter.

And all this is because of…

Swamp Milkweed, it’s something the monarch caterpillars need.

It protects them from mayhem by giving them shelter, so they don’t crawl helter skelter.

And it gives the caterpillar leaves to munch, munch, munch, so the adults can have a bunch of nectar.

What a great thing to do dude.

Plant this perennial that likes clay soil so the environment will never spoil.

By Buzz Buddy :)

Swamp Milkweed Seeds

History

The native american Indians used milkweed in many different ways, from culinary, medicine and  stuffing dolls and beds.

The white fluffy stuff makes great insulators and have been used in olden times to stuff pillows much like we use down feathers or cotton today.

The Chipewas tribe made stews from the flowers and used them as jam.

The Sioux boiled the young seed pods and eat them with meat.

Mothers from the Hopi tribe used to increase production of milk for their babies.

Extreme caution is needed to handle milkweed.. the milk can cause pretty bad burns if it accidentally gets inside the eyes. However the latex  has an unusual medical use as a natural bandage because it is sticky and forms a tough covering on an open wound. All parts of the plant are bitter and perhaps poisonous requiring some careful methods of preparation that we have never experimented in our home. We take great joy in watching the food chain unfold in our garden on the gorgeous plant and the fragrance the flowers provide us when we sit outside on our porch to watch the butterflies and bees feast on them.

In the 17th century, the plant has been used in old school medicine, the roots were used to treat fevers, relieve inflammation of the lungs, specifically asthma. So part of its scientific name 'Asclepias' comes from the Asclepius the Greek Hero of medical arts'.

Pollinating mysteries

Swamp Milkweed Lady Bugs mating season

One will seldom see large crawlers on the milkweed. When the sharp spikes on its feet pierce the juicy leaves, the waxy sap/milk will trap them making it food for the bigger bugs or birds. While the more dainty crawlers still get by like the aphids, it is a plant for mostly flying pollinators.  But even they have some struggles with the flowers!

Unlike most flowers, milkweed does not have dry pollen but a waxy mass of pollen stuck in sacs called pollinia. Bees use dry pollen to feed their young, but not the pollinia. The flowers of the milkweed are slippery by nature to make the nectar seeking insects slip in, so the pollinia can stick to their legs.

What would be fun to watch with children is how the insects struggle to get out of the flower slits with pollinia sticking to them. Most do fine, while some unfortunate ones won't succeed in getting their feet out and become part of the food chain.

The pollinia will fall off when the insects land on yet another flower, making pollination successful for the milkweed.

Plant a native flower garden in your backyard and enjoy marveling at the eco-system with your children 

Love,

Uma & Buzz Buddy!

 

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