Time To Shoot Butterfly Weed

Posted: September 17, 2015 in Uncategorized
Here in Michigan we have Butterfly Weed which is a species of milkweed native to eastern North America. It is a perennial plant growing to 10 in–3 ft 3 in tall, with clustered orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall.
This plant favors dry, sand or gravel soil, but has also been reported on stream margins. It requires full sun.
It is commonly known as Butterfly Weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also the larval food plant of the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted.

In the fall you will find tall narrow pods that hold the seeds of this plant, and in the last few weeks these pods are starting to open and the seeds emerge.

I like to wait till the seeds are falling out of the pods, which will sometimes create nice compositions.

Here is a tight shot of the seed heads.


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  1. Freddy Kietzmann says:

    The plant in the top frame is a butterfly weed; however, the images in all the other frames are Common Milkweed which is what the Monarch larvae feed on and grow the pods. It is, however, definitely the time of year to shoot both plants. 
    Freddy Kietzmann

    • Mike Moats says:

      Feddy, the seedhead you are seeing is from the butterfly weed, it is much thinner than the larger seedheads from the milkweed that you mention, but butterfly weed does produce these seedhead that look like a smaller version of the milkweed seedheads. The seeds themselves look the same whether from the butterfly weed or the milkweed.

  2. summitjim says:

    Today we get a botany lesson in addition to the macro example. I like the progression from full flower down to the closeup of the seed. The third shot is my favorite with the rich contrast of white and green. Again, this gives me a new way of looking at something that I often see, without really “seeing ” it. Very nice images.

  3. Elizabeth P Lawlor says:

    What lenses do d you use to make these photos…I’m inthe market for updating my equipment Thaks for the information. Liz

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