Royal Milkweed


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,

Milkweed nourishes.

Broad thick leaves,

deep traveling roots,

sweet perfume.

Star flowers,

fresh beauty defies

common name.

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I was inspired to highlight the contrasts shown in these photos by the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Opposites’.

21 thoughts on “Royal Milkweed

    1. Glad you like it:) I did notice the sky…a bonus. The composition was skewed by my attempt to be close enough to show detail of the plant and to also show the gravel base…I think I might have shown even more sky if I wasn’t determined to show the rough terrain.

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    1. I really think designating plants as weeds is quite really means a plant that interferes in some way with our current landscape plans. ..a plant that appears without our bidding.. There’s a place for deciding to weed out a plant but it’s purely contextual… Unfortunately we classify some plants as ‘weeds’, a classification that has a negative connotation….plant prejudice! (I’m getting carried away 😅)

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  1. When I was homeschooling my children we collected Monarch butterfly eggs for four summers and hatched, raised, and released more than 600 Monarch butterflies. I am no stranger to this beautiful plant.

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  2. Beautiful Haiku for a beloved plant. Ours has orange and yellow flowers. The Monarch caterpillars can strip every leaf from it and it still comes back. Rugged indeed. We planted it for the Monarchs, but I’ve learned to love it for itself.

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