Holistic Life

In Our Garden: Milkweed

I’m very excited to have three varieties of milkweed, a really important plant to have in a California garden. Milkweed is the plant of life for the Monarch butterfly, the only plant the Monarch uses to lay eggs. Monarchs are in danger of going extinct because humans have nearly eradicated this plant. There’s a big push on to plant as many Milkweeds as possible throughout the state.

We have seven Asclepias fascicularis (Narrow-leaf Milkweed), which I’m pretty sure is this one:

Asclepias fascicularis (Narrow-leaf Milkweed) October 2015
Asclepias fascicularis (Narrow-leaf Milkweed)
October 2015

I know the names of the two other varieties, based on our invoices. They are Asclepias speciosa and Asclepias eriocarpa. I’ve identified which plants are milkweed, but can’t figure out which is which particular type. Here are the pictures:

Milkweed October 2015
October 2015 
Milkweed: speiosa or eriocarpa? October 2015
Milkweed: speiosa or eriocarpa?
October 2015

To me, these leaves look different and I should be able to identify them by comparing them to photos online. But all the photos of both species look like the leaves in the bottom photo. So I can’t decide. If you want homework, please give it a try and tell me which one you think they are.


4 thoughts on “In Our Garden: Milkweed”

  1. Marlene, did you have a landscaper put in your plants, or are you doing it yourself? If the latter, what publications and/or web sites did you find the most helpful?

    1. We had a landscaper do it, although I’ve been researching like crazy on my own. I’m just Googling everything, but I’ll recommend looking up the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour group. You can friend them on Facebook or just look at their website. They have workshops once in a while.

      1. There’s an article in today’s Stockton Record about the widespread planting of milkweed after lawn removals. It cautions that one should plant only native California milkweed sinse exotic milkweed can be harmful to monarchs.

  2. A friend sent me milkweed seeds and I completely forgot to plant them. I wonder if they’ll overwinter well in my area. Maybe I could start them today.

    You can never have too many monarch butterflies.

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