Beautiful Little Asclepias

IMG_1117Is this our smallest milkweed? Regardless, Asclepias quadrifolia certainly is the earliest. And, unlike other milkweeds, this one is a woodland plant. Otherwise, it’s a typical milkweed — the flowers can’t be confused with any other genus. They are sought by butterflies, bumblebees, flies, and other insects for their nectar. The milky sap is meant to deter non-flying insects that are seeking the copious nectar, as well. Pollen? It hitches a ride on the unsuspecting insect’s leg, via saddlebag-shaped pollinia. Like other milkweeds, its foliage is eaten by  Monarch butterfly caterpillars.    IMG_1116

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Sun-loving Milkweeds | Sewanee Herbarium

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