Milkweed (Asclepias species) of which there are over20 different varieties across the US, is the host plant of the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). We are always pleased that the Monarchs visit and lay their eggs here! Some years we’ve been able to watch the entire process unfold from eggs to pupal stage and finally butterfly.
The common Milkweed is the singular place a Monarch butterfly will lay her eggs. This is no shock to those of us who enjoy Milkweed plants. Either for their tasty cauliflower like buds or the strong cordage its fiber is capable of being turned into or the heavenly scent of the flowers in the summer night air. Monarch butterflies will however sip nectar from other plants, but the larvae will eat only Milkweed.
Monarchs are well known for their lengthy migrations. However they are not the only butterflies that do so. Painted Ladies, Mourning Cloak, and Common Buckeyes as well as others butterflies migrate also.
Most Monarchs have a life cycle of about 6 to 8 weeks. However, the Monarchs that overwinter/migrate to Mexico and Southern California live for 4 to 5 months. There are no end of wonderful Monarch sites available for more information, but I’ve found that Monarch Butterly USA is a very nice resource and you can visit them for more detailed information. Meantime, don’t kill the Milkweed the Monarch larvae are hungry 🙂