While you are exploring Southwest Florida, you may happen upon one of our most beautiful native flowers— the butterfly weed! Read more about this flower, how animals interact with it, and how to identify it below:
What Does Butterfly Weed Look Like?
Butterfly weed is an orange or yellow flower that grows about 1 or 2 feet tall. The leaves are glossy-green while its flowers are clustered and quite small. The flowers have 6 orange or yellow petals that bloom from late spring to late summer.
What Type Of Flower Is A Butterfly Weed?
Butterfly weed is a type of milkweed. There are over 100 species of milkweed! What makes butterfly weed distinct is its orange/yellow color and unlike most types of milkweed, it does not have a milky sap. The milky sap of most milkweed makes it toxic to many animals so butterfly weed is seen as a safer species of milkweed to have around children and pets.
Is Butterfly Weed a Weed or a Flower?
Despite its name, Butterfly weed isn’t a weed at all— it’s a wildflower! In fact, none of the over 100 species of milkweed are considered to be noxious weeks.
How Do Animals Interact with Butterfly Weed?
Just as the name suggests, Butterfly weed is well-loved by butterflies! It’s rich nectar and pollen coax in a variety of different butterflies— including the monarch butterflies! Rabbits also quite like munching on these pretty orange plants so don’t be surprised if you see a few bunnies hopping around in clusters of Butterfly weed!
Where Does Butterfly Weed Grow?
Butterfly weed is native to Southwest Florida and Babcock Ranch is a fabulous place to see this beautiful flower in full bloom in late spring to late summer. On a Babcock Ranch Eco-Tour, you can request your knowledgeable tour guide point out Butterfly weed along your adventure and provide more interesting information about its history and relationship to the ecosystem here!