Milkweed is a weed. Weeds don’t belong in the garden. It has weed in the name. The milkweed plant along with the butterfly weed plant is actually a native wildflower. They provide food for the declining Monarch butterfly and the host plant for its eggs. The caterpillar only eats milkweed, nothing else, unlike the butterfly who can feed on any nectar plant. Native bees also rely on 14 different milkweed species in Wisconsin as a food source since they bloom at different times. But why do we call it a weed? It is just a name, Asclepias (genus) actually produces complex flowers that are comparable to orchids, which people buy and are sold in stores everywhere. So we have a weed that produces the most complex flower in the plant world, but we still choose to kill it because it is a weed…. The world milk in the name comes from when you harm the plant, a sticky milky-white the liquid comes out of the harmed area. Okay so why is it then called a weed and not like Milk flower or milk stalk. Something that doesn’t have that weed name in it. Well you know when you cut a weed down and you don’t pull it out, what happens, it comes back. Well when you cut or remove the milkweed, it grows back. This is because the plant needs to regenerate quicker than the caterpillar can eat it. Milkweed is more than just a weed, it is a food source for our pollinators to pollinate our gardens and food sources.
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