Butterfly Flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallow-wort, Virginia silkweed, Common Milkweed. These are all names for the same plant, known where I live in southern Canada as Common Milkweed. The only common aspect of this plant is that it can grow everywhere, even on a gravel driveway—as shown in the photo I took this weekend.
In recent years milkweed has gained attention as a plant to cherish if we want to continue seeing monarch butterflies. This is why I nickname it ‘Royal Milkweed’. Its leaves are monarchs’ cradle. Monarch butterflies carefully lay their eggs on the undersides of broad milkweed leaves so their progeny (caterpillars) may feed on the green flesh and white sap–no other food will do.
Milkweeds also flourish behind my garden, where every spring sprouts emerge from rhizome roots. Their perfume is intoxicating.
Milkweed flowers are amazingly beautiful–comparable in their complexity to orchid flowers (says Wikipedia).
Milkweed is a plant of many contrasts, some of which I have noted in these haiku:
Growing in harsh ground,
Bearing milk sap and nectar,
Broad thick leaves,
deep traveling roots,
fresh beauty defies
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I was inspired to highlight the contrasts shown in these photos by the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Opposites’.