Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata L.) With Butterflies, Bees & Bugs!

Abbey Walls

Joined February 2009

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Artist's Description

This interesting wildflower is commonly known as a Pink Swamp Milkweed. The scientific species is asclepias incarnata L. In some areas it is also know as Rose Milkweed, Swamp Silkweed or White Indian Hemp.

This very common plant can be found in all of the central and eastern areas of North America. Only the western US costal and desert States and western Canadian provinces are excluded. It grows best in very damp soil, usually near streams, ponds, lakes and (obviously) in swamps.

The blooms and flowers begin to appear in late July or early August and they usually last until a “hard freeze” in the fall. It is a tall plant, and can grow as high as five feet. The flowering “head” averages about six inches across. The buds are fragrant and edible, as are the young leaves. It is considered to be a medicinal herb and has been used to treat various ailments. The roots are often eaten by muskrats, but the foliage is known to be particularly deadly to sheep.

These tall flowering native American perennial “weeds” are wonderful butterfly attractors (as well as being extremely “popular” with many other small insects, spiders, bees and Monarch Butterfly caterpillars).

This particular plant was as busy as Grand Central Station, with so many different creatures all visiting at the same time! There are two butterflies, two different types of bees, a small spider and several additional unidentified bugs (one caught in mid-flight) captured in this one photo!

I shot this photo hand held with my old Canon EOS 650 35mm film camera, through a Canon EF 35-135mm USM zoom lens, no flash. The negative was scanned to digital (very poorly) by the film lab. I know that much of the sharpness was lost in the process, but I like the shot anyway, just because there is so much going on here! I am sorry if the lack of image quality is a turn-off to any viewers. (I’ll never use that photo lab again!)

Artwork Comments

  • Vickie Emms
  • Abbey Walls
  • Vickie Emms
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  • Digitalbcon
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