One of the showiest of our native wildflowers, Butterfly Weed blooms in an array of orange shades. It reaches about two feet high and produces a tidy clump of lanceolate leaves. Blooming beginning in June, this milkweed does best in prairie to savanna situations that are dry, rocky or gravelly. A host plant for monarch butterflies and the Unexpected Cycnia moth, it is also attractive to other pollinators. Honeybees, digger bees, leaf-cutting bees, Halictid bees (including green metallic bees), wasps, and butterflies, including Fritillaries and Swallowtails, and the Ruby-throated Hummingbird all are attracted to the flowers. Apart from caterpillars, the Small and Large Milkweed Bugs consume the plant. Although Butterfly Milkweed lacks the toxic milky latex that is typical of other milkweeds, mammals appear to avoid it.
Soil Type: Loam/Sand
Soil Conditions: Mesic-Dry
Flower Color: Orange
Light: Full sun
Credits: Info courtesy of Pizzo Native Nursery and IllinoisWildflowers.Info; Photo courtesy of IllinoisWildflowers.Info