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ASullivant's Milkweed

ASullivant's Milkweed

ASullivant's Milkweed

This gorgeous prairie plant is a fine addition to any sunny perennial garden with medium soil, and a superior candidate for the butterfly garden. One of the best milkweeds for attracting butterflies, especially Monarchs, it is visited by hummingbirds and a variety of other pollinators, as well. The structural shape and bold texture help it stand out in a border. It does just as well as a member of a naturalized planting with other prairie species such as Wild Quinine, Meadow Blazingstar and Culver's Root. Milkweed, is a long-lived perennial and very similar to Common Milkweed at first glance. However, Sullivant's Milkweed is less aggressive, its completely smooth leaves are more succulent-like, and the flowers are typically a uniform pink.

Milkweed

Another rare Minnesota milkweed, its historical range has always been limited to our southern central counties. According to the DNR, nearly all of its tall grass prairie habitat has been converted to agriculture and its mostly been able to survive along abandoned railroad rights-of-way. It was listed as a state Threatened species in 1984. Some websites claim it can be grown quite easily on richer garden soils but I have no first hand experience with this at home. There are several pink to purplish milkweeds with opposite, oval or oblong leaves. A distinguishing feature of Sullivant's Milkweed is its overall hairlessness—other species have hairy leaves and/or stems.Prairie Milkweed is also called Sullivant's Milkweed, named for William Starling Sullivant, an American botanist of the mid-1800's. This Milkweed appears generally similar to Common Milkweed but is less aggressive, has slightly smaller flowers, and an overall smooth appearance on the stem, leaves and seed pods. Visited by hummingbirds and a wide variety of bees and butterflies (including, of course, Monarchs, who use the plant as a larval host), Prairie Milkweed is one of the plants favored by the larvae of the Milkweed Leaf-Miner fly, which bore holes in the leaves.

“Visited by hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies, this gorgeous native prairie plant is one of the very best for attracting butterflies and a variety of nectar-seeking pollinators. Sullivant’s Milkweed is similar in looks to common milkweed, but is much less aggressive. The leaves are completely smooth and succulent-like. It does develop a deep taproot which protects the plant in times of drought, but also makes it difficult to move. A fine addition to any sunny, medium to medium-moist perennial garden and a superior candidate for the butterfly garden. The structural shape and bold texture help it stand out in the border garden.” Insects that take nectar from the plant include bumblebees and other bees, wasps, ants, flies, and butterflies. The caterpillars of the monarch butterfly feed on the foliage. The larva of the milkweed leaf-miner (Liriomyza asclepiades) mine the leaves. Aphids that can be found on the plant include the yellow milkweed aphid (Aphis nerii), black aphid (Aphis rumicis), and the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae). (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

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