Asclepias syriaca or common milkweed, is one of the milkweeds growing in my garden. A wonderful plant, grows close to five feet tall with wonderful fragrant flowers that attract all sorts of pollinators. It does have a tendency to spread by runners and take up quite a large space in the garden but if you have a sunny location with plenty of moisture this is a worthwhile investment in the life of our native ecosystem. I adore Asclepias tuberosa or butterfly milkweed for its showy orange flowers and a more compact better behaved habit. But milkweeds are important because they are the host plant of the Monarch Butterfly which is endangered due to lost of habitat. Eastern Monarchs are experiencing a dangerous decline in the recent years. We can help by planting patches of Milkweed in our gardens as well as nectar producing native plants. The Butterflies rely on the milkweed to lay their eggs. The poisonous sap make the plant and the larvae unpalatable to predators.
If you are interested in getting more involved you can visit The Monarch Watch Organization for information on creating a Monarch Waystation and become a citizen scientist by helping to monitor and document the Monarch population in your area.
Here is an amazing video of the Monarch life cycle. It is just amazing! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZKbZdLtBoM
~Kurt Vonnegut Jr.