Asclepias incarnata

Another thank you to Monceau@Flickr for sharing a photograph with us. His image of Asclepias incarnata was contributed via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Much appreciated!

Despite the location of this photograph (Le Jardin des Plantes, Paris), Asclepias incarnata, or swamp milkweed, is native to much of eastern and central North America. As its common name implies, it is typically a species of wet meadows, wet ditches and marshes, which is somewhat atypical for the species in North America; I associate many of the other species with well-draining soils or dry locales.

Asclepias incarnata makes for a good addition to gardens, where it is useful as a nectar-source for butterflies. It is also a larval host for monarch butterflies, though not as preferred as other species in the genus. Several cultivars are available, including a white-flowered selection (see the Wikipedia entry for additional photographs of the species and some cultivars: Asclepias incarnata).

On a personal note, thank you for the well-wishes everyone. I hope all BPotD readers are able to celebrate togetherness and reflect on 2012 over the next while. Myself, I’ll be raising a glass to several people who passed away this past year. All were readers of BPotD or personally interested in my photography, and all continue to inspire me.

Asclepias incarnata

12 responses to “Asclepias incarnata”

  1. Ginny

    Perhaps the Monarch’s preferences vary in different areas. Here in my (Maine) garden I have A. incarnata and A. tuberosa; nearby is wild A. syriaca and a container of A. curassavica. The Monarchs clearly preferred the Swamp Milkweeds for egg-laying; these plants, near our small (15′) garden pond, were covered with Monarch caterpillars while the other plants had only a few. On several days I watched a monarch circling the pond, stopping each time she came to the Swamp Milkweed to lay an egg. The A. tuberosa was covered with Monarchs nectaring, but apparently laying no eggs. A very unscientific survey but interesting!

  2. Kathy

    Hi,
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the crew at Botany Photo of the Day.
    Thanks for being with us all year! I learn so much here…

  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Thanks for that, Ginny. I know one of the resources I read stated it wasn’t preferred, but I could certainly see it varying by chemical composition of the plants (which may be regional).

  4. Chris

    And happy holidays to you Daniel – your photos are always a welcome break in the day!

  5. Martha

    Oh, that’s my favorite milkweed. The 2-3 year OK drought has killed all the ones that used to come up every year.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks for everything you add to my knowledge and enjoyment of plants.

  6. Jessica

    That’s one of my favorite plants. The photo looks like fireworks. 🙂 I find the construction of the Asclepias flowers both fascinating and totally charming. That’s a great photo.
    Interesting to see Ginny’s comments about her Monarchs being selective among several Asclepias plants. I’m planning on adding more butterfly-friendly plants to my garden and it’ll probably make sense to include several milkweed varieties. I love the A. incarnata. I don’t have a particularly damp site, so I hope it’ll do well. I’ve seen the white variety. It looks beautiful and delicate, like little bursts of stars.
    Thanks for all your efforts to bring such interesting plants and terrific background information to us. I love this site.
    I hope everyone has a joyous and peaceful holiday and a new year filled with good health and interesting adventures.
    Best wishes,
    Jess

  7. michael aman

    I noticed the same thing here in Central New York that Ginny observed. A singleton plant of incarnata growing by a fish pool had three chrysalises hanging off it, while the syriaca plants in the field nearby had been passed over.

  8. Alan Butler

    Thank you Daniel and the team for an interesting year. We have a plant of Asclepias incarnata in the garden here in Italy, near Rome, and it struggles a bit in the hot dry summer but copious watering keeps it happy and I featured a picture of it in flower on the front cover of Asklepios, the journal of the International Asclepiad Society, which I edit. Merry Christmas to you all. Alan Butler

  9. vicente

    Feliz navidad y prospero año para usted Daniel y sus colaboradores. Gracias por sus comunicaciones:he aprendido mucho y me han parecido muy buenas sus fotos

  10. elizabeth a airhart

    this wondeful page means a lot to me i live in the usa
    as i came often to visit the lovely white flower- a comfort
    after sandy hook school -i had 20 names for each visit
    it did seem to help but flowers do that do they not
    daniel has a clear voice on the page and i worry
    if some of the regulars do not show up as often
    as i think they should i enjoy thier writeing
    they even use comma and periods i admire that
    2013 is soon here a whole year where every day is friday the 13th

  11. Beth C.

    Wishing the best for all my fellow plant lovin folks, as well! Thank you so much for keeping up this site. I teach herbaceous and woody identification classes at Auburn University in Alabama and I take full advantage of all the knowledge you all provide. Of course, I have the most luck with the A. tuberosa in the recent drought filled summers here but A.incarnata is still a favorite. I had only seen the white one before so thanks again for this picture. Happy New Year. May we all be blessed with joy and love in 2013.

  12. Melissa in South Carolina

    Thank you, Daniel! All the best in the New Year!

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