Showy milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
States grown: AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY
Showy milkweed is the first milkweed species I found when I went out looking for milkweed in my community.
Blooms: Showy milkweed blooms between May and September. The bloom on your plant will vary on the timing and duration of the bloom. The weather and water supply will determine the timing and length of the bloom. Blooms are 3"-8" in diameter and have many smaller blossoms. I watched these native plants through the 2014 season. What I saw was blooms opening on June 1st. The blooms continued thru late August.
Seed pods: The early seed pods began forming August 1st. Seed pods from August 1st opened on September 7th. Seed pods continue to fully ripen and I expect them to expel nearly all their seeds by the end of September 30th.
Butterfly activity: Showy milkweed is very popular with monarch butterflies. I observed monarchs in nearly all cycles of life on these plants in 2014. I found at least five monarch eggs on the undersides on Showy milkweed. I found three caterpillars that were actively eating the leaves of the milkweed. I also saw, on average, one to four, monarch butterflies fluttering around the milkweed in the heat of the afternoon. While the monarchs fed on the nectar of many plants in the area they would often nectar on Showy milkweed when it was in full bloom.
View Showy milkweed observations on iNaturalist
View Showy milkweed plant information at Wildflower.org
View Showy milkweed plant information at Plants.USDA.gov
ASCLEPIAS SPECIOSA PLANT MORPHOLOGY
I created a plant info sheet that you can download.