Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic
This stately milkweed is at home in moist habitats across much of the United States.* It has flat terminal clusters of showy pale pink to mauve flowers in summer, succeeded by interesting fruit (follicles) that split to release seeds on silken parachutes.
When the flowers of summer wane, pollinators move on to late bloomers, such as the mistakenly maligned native thistles. But native milkweed plants–Asclepias incarnata, A. tuberosa, and A. syriaca are still a hub of insect activity in the fall. Bright red bugs congregate on the seed pods and caterpillars hide beneath the leaves. Watch this video–listen carefully for a munching sound–and see what you are missing if you don’t grow milkweed. The monarchs are missing it too.
– Video © 2018 Mary Free