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.
FJI's Party Junk