|Florida wildflower haiku, Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa by Kevin Songer|
milkweeds toxin sap
eaten by Monarch larvae
hungry birds disdain
Butterfly weed (also known as 'milkweed') provides nectar for many pollinators, including butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterfly weed likes to grow in sandy soils and is a larval host plant for the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Interestingly, milkweed contains sap substances that are sometimes toxic to birds. Some butterflies have taken advantage of this toxicity by laying eggs on milkweed in order for the hungry larvae to ingest leaves full of these toxins, which fill their body with a taste predator birds disdain ultimately providing the larvae and young butterflies with much needed protection.