Saturday, August 7, 2010

Native Plants of Franklin

Were any of you able to identify last week's native plant? If you said milkweed, you win!

(Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for this second image.)

Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, is better known for what eats it than for its flowers; but don't let that give you any wrong ideas about its flowers! Milkweed has stunning spheres of blossoms that from up close look like they have been folded from origami.

And of course, what eats the plant are the larvae of monarch butterflies. They eat milkweed, and nothing else. Here is a female monarch looking for leaves to lay her eggs on.

And this is what the caterpillars look like.

If you want to see more monarch butterflies in your yard, plant milkweed! Seeds can easily be collected in the Autumn from meadows where milkweed grows, or they can be ordered from sources such as

And here is our next mystery native flower. Hint: I've zoomed in rather close. Another hint: it's in bloom now.

Don't forget, you can post your answers (or wild guesses!) in the comments section. Happy botanical sleuthing!

Franklin, MA

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