Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 05, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Vines, Wildflowers
Title: Flowers for monarch butterflies in Bastrop, Gonzales and Travis Counties of Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr./s. Smarty Plants, What are some flowers that grow naturally on a Bastrop, Travis, or Gonzales county riverside that monarch butterflies commonly feed on? Thank you

ANSWER:

The monarch butterfly adults drink nectar from the flowers of many plant species, but the larvae feed exclusively on plants of the Family Asclepediaceae (Milkweed Family).  Generally, the larvae feed on plants in the Genus Asclepias, but will also feed on the vines in the Genera Matelea and Cynanchum.

Here are native species in the Family Asclepediaceae that occur in Bastrop, Gonzales and/or Travis Counties:

Asclepias amplexicaulis (Clasping milkweed) found in Bastrop County.  According to the Freckman Herbarium's Plants of Wisconsin its habitat is dry sandy prairies and woods.

Asclepias asperula (Spider milkweed) grows in all three counties in meadows, roadsides and brushlands.

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed) grows in Gonzales County in wet meadows and riparian areas.

Asclepias latifolia (Broadleaf milkweed) in Bastrop County grows in sandy, clayey or rocky soils of prairies according to MonarchWatch.

Asclepias linearis (Slim milkweed) grows in Bastrop County.

Asclepias oenotheroides (Zizotes milkweed) grows in Bastrop and Travis Counties and prefers dry sandy soils.

Asclepias texana (Texas milkweed) grows in Travis County in ditches, ravines, streams and river banks.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) grows in all three counties in prairies, openwoods, ravines and hillsides and prefers dry sandy soil.

Asclepias verticillata (Whorled milkweed) grows in all three counties in woodlands in rocky, sandy or clayey soils.

Asclepias viridiflora (Green milkweed) grows in Bastrop and Travis Counties in sandy or rocky prairie soils.

Asclepias viridis (Green antelopehorn) grows in all three  counties on roadsides and prairies in dry limestone soils.

Of these Asclepias species only A. incarnata and A. texana are indicated as growing near waterways.  The others could, however, be found in the general vicinity of rivers.

Although the Asclepias spp. are the primary food for monarch larvae, the following milkweeds may occasionally be used.

Cynanchum laeve (honey vine) grows in all three counties.  Here is more information from MonarchWatch.

Cynanchum racemosum var. unifarium (Talayote) grows in all three counties.

Funastrum crispum (Wavy-leaf milkweed vine) grows in Travis County.

Funastrum cynanchoides ssp. cynanchoides (Fringed twinevine) grows in Bastrop County.

Matelea biflora (Purple milkweed vine) grows in Travis County.

Matelea cynanchoides (Prairie milkvine) grows in Bastrop County.

Matelea edwardsensis (Plateau milkvine) grows in Travis County.

Matelea gonocarpos (Anglepod) grows in all three counties.

Matelea reticulata (Green milkweed vine) grows in Bastrop and Travis Counties.

Matelea sagittifolia (Arrowleaf milkvine) grows in Travis County.

Here is an information-filled brochure from Texas Monarch Watch about the monarchs in Texas and Texas Entomology has more on monarchs and milkweeds.

 

From the Image Gallery


Clasping milkweed
Asclepias amplexicaulis

Antelope horns
Asclepias asperula

Swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata

Broadleaf milkweed
Asclepias latifolia

Slim milkweed
Asclepias linearis

Zizotes milkweed
Asclepias oenotheroides

Texas milkweed
Asclepias texana

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Whorled milkweed
Asclepias verticillata

Green milkweed
Asclepias viridiflora

Green antelopehorn
Asclepias viridis

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Non-toxic plants for dog yard from Freeport PA
June 24, 2012 - I'm looking for wildlife-friendly native plants that aren't toxic to dogs. I have a place for some small shrubs and/or flowers. And a climbing vine that I could train on a trellis would work espec...
view the full question and answer

Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
July 30, 2012 - We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
view the full question and answer

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Help finding and growing milkweeds for monarch butterflies
August 01, 2011 - I would like to participate in your "Monarch Waystation" program. Knowing how milkweeds generally don't transplant well, and I have poor luck getting them to propagate from seeds, could you please...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly garden for TN
May 09, 2012 - Hello! I recently moved into a new house near Mosheim, Tennessee (37818) and I am wanting to start a butterfly garden. I am requesting information how to get this started. What soil, plants, and flowe...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.