Showy Milkweed Is More Than Just Another Weed

monarch butterfly caterpillar and hummingbird

I was not aware showy milkweeds were a nectar producing plant. A couple weeks ago I was surprised to see a variety of butterflies and a few hummingbirds feeding from the showy milkweed on the hillside where I was photographing butterflies. I watched in amazement all the different species of animals which utilized this often misunderstood plant. I tried to take a few images, unfortunately from a great distance, of the hummingbird feeding on the milkweed as it was a first for me to witness.

When I got home and started editing the images I was pleasantly surprised I had been photobombed by a monarch caterpillar who decided it needed to be in the photo as well. This particular day on the mountainside photographing butterflies taught me there are no useless plants in nature. Everything has a place. Even the showy milkweed which is often sprayed and dug up because it is viewed as and treated like a weed, hence the name. But after seeing all the different forms of life, from butterflies to bees and hummingbirds I have a new fondness for this plant. I am planning on planting a few showy milkweed plants in my yard for next year to help encourage monarch butterflies to lay eggs at my house but also hoping it will help the hummingbirds as well. Nature is a great thing if we stop and watch it, even for just a few minutes or so. We learn so much about the world around us and the plants and animals we share this planet with. What a world it is to have so much beauty and intrigue right around us to entertain and even enlighten us.

monarch butterfly caterpillar and hummingbird
A monarch butterfly caterpillar and a hummingbird share a showy milkweed.

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