Monday, September 20, 2010

Tropical Milkweed and its Visitors

Against a sunny wall outside the McMillan Greenhouse classroom, monarch caterpillars and milkweed bugs have no respect for this Family Jewels plant, Asclepias gymnocarpus.  They have almost entirely stripped it of leaves!  If we were in the tropics, this plant would grow new leaves after the caterpillars have their fill, but here the stems will stand naked until frost brings the final indignity.

Sometimes in North Carolina, tropical milkweeds die down but return when the weather warms again.  But to be sure you have one next year, you should collect seeds and start some new plants next spring.   For your effort, you can look forward to bright, beautiful flowers, interesting creepy-crawly critters and  monarch butterflies to grace your garden.


Growing Milkweed and Saving the Seeds
Monarch Caterpillar - Life cycle pictures and articles about Monarchs.
Milkweed Bug - The orange and black bugs in my photos.


  1. Wow! Impressive pictures. Ms. Rutherford and I think you know a lot about monarchs.

  2. yes, but k. not so much! :) glad you like the pics, mom.

  3. Never had that before, great photos, thanks, Gina