To say that I have felt left out is a bit of an understatement. Other gardeners have posted about their monarch caterpillars, their delicate chrysalis, and the subsequent emergence of the beautiful monarch butterfly. Not here. For the past five years I have been checking the wild milkweed which inhabits the fields and the back border. The common milkweed, Asclepius syriaca, is a host plant for the monarch butterfly caterpillar and, to this date, none have ever been seen on the plants. I have left the milkweed in the border for the specific purpose of bait. Bait which has gone undiscovered and unappreciated. Milkweed is a coarse looking plant with an understated flower but the flower does have incredible sweetness and fragrance and the bees love it. This year Gomphocarpus physocarpus or hairy/fur balls (warning: do NOT google 'hairy balls') were started from seed and planted in the garden. This genus has been recently changed from Asclepius and it does produce similar looking flowers
to those produced by the common milkweed. My plants are just now starting to produce flower buds and upon close examination of the plants this morning I found not one but four of these caterpillars.
I am delighted, ecstatic. No one likes being left out or uninvited to the party. As you can see, this one is eating the top of the plant containing the flower buds. Sacrifices must be made. I am hoping that there is a chrysalis in my future but, if not, as least I have seen these little beauties up close. Have I been the only one left out until now? Do you have these caterpillars in your garden?