Heady Fragrance

Where’s that almost too sweet fragrance coming from? It’s the common milkweed, Asclepius syriaca, mistakenly named for Syria, because in that’s where Linnaeus thought it had been collected! I imagine his workroom, piled high with plant specimens from around the world, all waiting to be named by this venerable taxonomist. A slip of the hand and piles of pressed and dried plants come tumbling down. Somewhere in the tidying-up this milkweed, from the North American stack, ends up in the pile of specimens from Syria.

Who knows how it happened? No matter! This beautiful plant is most certainly a native around here. It’s the largest and probably the most common milkweed in our flora. Many insects are drawn to the copious nectar. Pretty soon we should see monarch butterfly eggs and larvae enjoying these sap-filled leaves.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Let’s Do It for the Monarchs | Sewanee Herbarium

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