Botany or Plant Biology
Do milkweed leaves have sap?
Asked in Botany or Plant Biology
What is the significance of the title of milkweed?
What does milkweed look like?
Asked in Flower Gardening, Pest Control
Why are there holes in your milkweed leaves?
Milkweed is famous for being a virtual cafeteria for a large number of insects to feast upon. Perhaps the most beautiful and well-known is the monarch caterpillar, which becomes the monarch butterfly. The monarch caterpillar chews along the edges of leaves. Aphids are also found on milkweed, and tend to feed in large groups on the leaves and stems. The blue milkweed beetle feeds on milkweed and can be responsible for holes in leaves. The four-eyed milkweed beetle is another beetle that eats milkweed and can cause holes. This beetle is red with black spots. Finally, herbicides can cause damage to leaves of milkweed. To take a positive view, holes can be a positive sign that the milkweed is supporting a wide range of insects and butterflies who are dependant on this food source.
Asked in Tree Care
Why is there sap on the leaves of the linden tree?
Do Monarch Butterflies live in Swan Plants?
The monarch butterfly must lay their eggs on milkweed plants (Asclepias ), and the swan plant is listed on wikipedia as a type of milkweed. Most plants in the milkweed family produce flowers which the monarch can feed on. The caterpillars of the monarch butterfly can only eat leaves from plants in the milkweed family and will die without this food source. The milkweed plant is known for it's white milky sap, which contains alkaloids, latex, and several other complex compounds including cardenolides. Some species are known to be toxic. The caterpillars are immune to the milkweed sap and actually make themselves poisonous by eating it. The butterfly retains the milkweed poison as a defense against predators. Both the monarch caterpillars and the monarch butterflies use bright color patterns as a warning that they are dangerous to eat.
Asked in Butterflies and Moths, Caterpillars
Why do butterflies only lay eggs on milkweed leaves?
Why is milkweed inedible?
A bitter, off-putting, toxic ingredient list is the reason why milkweed is inedible. All parts except nectar and pollen indeed lead the consumer into contact with and ingestion of such toxins as alkaloids and cardenolids. Consumption nevertheless will be possible if the predator has appropriate chemical defenses in the case of such consumers as insects, slugs, snails, and spiders or if the preparer subjects fresh shoots to three or four boilings in the same-numbered changes of water.