June 15, 2011

Milkweed

While researching plants and wildflowers online, I saw a photo of milkweed and wondered again why the milkweed on Oak Hill has yellow-green flowers? In Michigan we had pink milkweed flowers just like all the photos online and in field guides. On the Oklahoma Prairie website it too shows the pink flowers of common milkweed. So why are mine yellow-green?


I found our yellow flowers in Oklahoma Prairie's "May Wildflowers" section: it's "green milkweed". Then I found it referred to as "spider milkweed" on another site.

And on Sunday I found not one, but two Monarch caterpillars on a milkweed plant!

I found instructions on the internet on raising Monarchs. Several years ago the children and I raised painted lady caterpillars to butterflies. Since our granddaughter will soon be here for her summer visit, I decided to bring these two caterpillars inside so we can watch the miracle of metamorphosis.


Funny story about my trip outside to get the caterpillars. I went out to do the evening chores and went down to the horse barn where this plant was. I checked and yes, they were still there. I put the horses in their stalls and fed them, then got my ice cream bucket and scissors and walked over to get the caterpillars. The top of the plant was gone - missing. Did the cow eat it, along with the caterpillars?? I could hardly believe my eyes.

I quickly came up with a Plan B: find other milkweed plants and see if there are more caterpillars. I walked half of the horse pasture and found every milkweed plant, but no caterpillars. I was so disappointed; I'd been envisioning our granddaughter watching the butterflies emerge. I went back to the original plant and looked for the umpteenth time, but the tops of the plant were indeed gone. Then I spotted both caterpillars about a foot away, inching along the ground! I grabbed my bucket and in they went, then I cut some milkweed branches for them to eat. Thank You!


At least now I know where all the milkweed plants are so I can gather new food for them each day. In a few days they will form a chrysalis, and be in the pupa stage for 10-14 days. We'll let them loose as soon as they've changed into butterflies.


What is the plural of chrysalis? According to answer.com it's chrysalises (CRI sa liss ez) or better yet, chrysalides (cri SAL uh deeze).


I'll keep you posted on their progress.

Part Two is here.

Part Three

Shared on:
Eco-Kids Tuesday
FJI's Party Junk

6 comments:

  1. That's amazing. I've never actually seen that. I've seen emerging moths and things. But never have I tried to raise an insect... other than earthworms! :)
    Well... my prayers are with you on your project, and congratulations on searching so hard, and finding them!

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  2. I can't wait to see the photos and details about Caterpillar progress. That is going to be so awesome!

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  3. So interesting. I am slightly obsessed with monarch caterpillars, butterflies and chrysalis, as you will see from my knitting patterns. Great to see the real thing.

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  4. Ginx Craft, thank you for stopping by! I had to go check out your monarch patterns, they are adorable.

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  5. Hello--it's Spetember 2015 and Google put me on this page because I was trying to identify a type of milkweed that has just recently migrated somehow to my area in Enid OK, and ran across the same identification problem that you describe here, and not just in regard to milkweed that shows chartreuse flowers (additionally, mine has displayed magenta petals in the middle of the mainly chartreuse flowers). Additionally, I couldn't find any monarch info page that mentioned Honeyvine as a type of milkweed, either, and that is what the monarchs around here have been breeding on--exclusively until this other milkweed made its appearance.


    Not until today did I find a website that mentioned the vine by a different name: Sandvine. So I'm still in the dark as much as ever. Love your page here, but the milkweed you picture is simply the closest that resembles the milkweed I'm trying to identify, found online, so I have to keep searching for an exact match. Truth be told, I'm about to give up.

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  6. Hello, Clara. I've since learned that the green variety is called antelope horn milkweed. We also have an orange variety that is commonly called butterfly milkweed.

    I've never heard of honeyvine or sandvine. I'll see if I can find some pictures online. Thank you for visiting; I hope you figure it out.

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