Monarch Butterfly

- Milkweed and - Nectar Plants native to Oklahoma
 Antelope-horns Milkweed 
(Asclepias asperula)

Also known as Spider Milkweed, this perennial is clump-forming with stems that are densely covered with minute hairs. As the green seed pods grow, they curve to resemble antelope horns. It has pale, greenish-yellow flowers, tinged maroon that bloom March to October.

Growing Conditions: Needs sunlight, dry or moist soil, medium water use

Plant Size: 1-2 ft (30-60 cm) tall

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Butterflyweed 
(Asclepias tuberosa)

Host plant for monarch caterpillars and excellent nectar plant for adults. Very showy flowers. Prefers dry soils and full sun.

Description:  Sometimes called Orange Milkweed, this perennial has large, flat-topped clusters of yellow-orange or bright-orange flowers and blooms May to September.

Growing Conditions: Needs sunlight, drought tolerant, dry or moist soil

Plant Size:  1-2 ft (30-60 cm)

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Common Milkweed
(Asclepias syriaca)

Host plant for monarch caterpillars and excellent nectar plant for adults. Fragrant flowers. Thrives in a wide range of soils.

This tall perennial has large balls of pink or purplish flowers that have an attractive odor. The flowers bloom from June to August.

Growing Conditions: Shade intolerant, needs lots of sunlight, moist soil

Plant Size:  Usually 3-5 feet (90-150 cm), sometimes reaching 8 feet (240 cm) in ditches and gardens

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Purple Milkweed
(Asclepias purpurascens )

The milky juice from this perennial is known to remove warts. The flowers are deep magenta red and bloom May to July.

Growing Conditions: Needs sunlight and dry soil

Plant Size: 2-4 ft (61 to 122 cm)

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Redring milkweed
(Asclepias variegata)

This perennial has small white flowers with purplish centers crowded into round, terminal clusters that resemble snowballs and blooms May to September.

Growing Conditions: Low water use, dry soil, moderately shade tolerant

Plant Size:  1-3 ft (30- 91 cm)

The stem of this plant has the milky sap typical of most milkweeds. The species name describes the bicolored flowers, which are quite showy in masses. Endangered in CT, NY, PA.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Showy Milkweed 
(Asclepias speciosa )

Monarch caterpillar host plant.

This perennial has large, oval, blue-green leaves and spherical clusters of rose-colored flowers. The flowers occur at the top of the stem and on stalks from leaf axils and bloom May to September.

Growing Conditions: Shade intolerant, needs sunlight, medium water use, moist soil

Plant Size: Generally 1 ½ – 3 ft (46 – 91 cm) but can reach 6 ft (183 cm) under favorable conditions

This species is closely related to the Common milkweed, A. syriaca, with which it sometimes hybridizes at the eastern limits of its distribution. These species are similar in appearance and growth form (tall and robust), but can be distinguished by the layer of fine white hairs on A. speciosa and flowers that look like small crowns. Unlike A. syriaca, A. speciosa does not form large clones.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Spider Milkweed
(Asclepias viridis)

Monarch caterpillar host plant.

Also known as Green Antelopehorn Milkweed, this perennial has white flowers – mostly one per plant and lacks the “horns” seen on Antelopehorn Milkwed. These milkweeds bloom from May to August.

Growing Conditions: Needs sunlight, cold and heat tolerant, moist soil, low water use

Plant Size: Matures to 4 ft (122 cm) in height

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Swamp Milkweed 
(Asclepias incarnata )

Monarch caterpillar host plant.

Also known as Pink Milkweed, this perennial has large blossoms composed of small, rose-purple flowers. The deep pink flowers are clustered at the top of a tall, branching stem and bloom June to October.

Growing Conditions: Needs lots of water, shade tolerant, moist to wet soil

Plant Size: 2-5 ft (60-152 cm)

The juice of this wetland milkweed is less milky than that of other species. The genus was named in honor of Aesculapius, Greek god of medicine, undoubtedly because some species have long been used to treat a variety of ailments. The Latin species name means flesh-colored.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Whorled milkweed
(Asclepias verticillata)

Monarch caterpillar host plant and exceptional nectar plant. This small milkweed plant is great for landscaping. Dry soils.

This single-stemmed perennial has narrow, linear leaves whorled along the stem. Small, greenish-white flowers occur in flat-topped clusters on the upper part of the stem and bloom May to September.

Growing Conditions: Low water use, moderately shade tolerant, dry soil

Plant Size: 1-3 ft (30- 91 cm)

Because of its toxicity to livestock, this plant is considered a weed in range areas.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Baldwin's ironweed
(Vernonia baldwinii)

Grows under a variety of conditions; spreads via rhizomes.

Western ironweed’s 3-5 ft. stems occur singly or in clumps, and are stout and hairy. Wide clusters of vibrant, red-violet flowers form at the ends of short branches near the top of the plant. Because the flowers are all of the disk variety, the 6 in. wide flower cluster has a fuzzy appearance. Long, lance-shaped leaves line the stems.

This plant aggressively colonizes by rhizomes once established so place accordingly. Its bloom period lasts until frost.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Betonyleaf thoroughwort
(Conoclinium betonicifolium)

Distribution is limited to Texas. Very attractive butterfly plant.

This is a somewhat woody, weak, decumbent plant rooting at the nodes in sand or sandy clay and found throughout the Texas coast. The flowering stems turn up at the ends and the blades are fleshy with toothed margins. All the flowers are disk-type with bluish petals.

Like the other blue mistflowers, this one attracts a host of butterfly species. It thrives and will flower most abundantly in full sun, but will still produce a show in part shade.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Blacksamson echinacea
(Echinacea angustifolia)

One of the more drought tolerant Echinaceas. Tolerates alkaline soils and well-drained clays.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Button eryngo
(Eryngium yuccifolium)

Can be aggressive self-seeder.

Scattered along the stiff, upright stem of this unusual perennial are tough, blue-green, yucca-like, parallel-veined leaves. Smooth, rigid stem bearing thistle-like flower heads made up of small greenish-white florets mingled with pointed bracts. The individual, greenish-white flowers cluster into unique, globular heads. These occur on branch ends atop the 6 ft. plant.

Their spiny leaves make walking through clumps of these plants difficult, and also make them unpalatable to grazing livestock. They were once credited with a variety of curative powers. Their flower heads develop a bluish cast with maturity.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Compassplant
(Silphium laciniatum)

Drought tolerant. Looks similar to sunflower and attracts numerous pollinators.

Compassplant is a tall, coarse, sunflower-like perennial, growing 3-12 ft. high. Deeply cut, hairy leaves, up to 2 ft. in length, usually orient themselves north and south to avoid the heat of the noonday sun. Scattered along the top half of the stout, sticky stem are 2-5 in. wide, yellow, radiate flowers. A tall plant bearing yellow flower heads with large, hairy-edged, green bracts; stem exudes resinous sap

Compass Plant is one of a group of tall, mostly prairie sunflowers, some with very large leaves. The common name refers to the plants deeply incised leaves, which tend to be oriented in a north-south direction. The hardened sap of this plant can be chewed like gum. Rosinweed (S. integrifolium) has opposite, very rough, stalkless, untoothed or slightly toothed leaves and is 2-5 (60-150 cm) tall. Cup Plant (S. perfoliatum) has opposite leaves that envelop its square stem, each leaf forming a cup around it. Prairie Dock (S. terebinthinaceum) has large, ovate or heart-shaped, basal leaves to 2 (60 cm) long; the sparsely leaved flower stalk sometimes reaches a height of nearly 10 (3 m).

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Cusp blazing star
(Liatris punctata var. mucronata)

Liatris species in general are very attractive to monarchs.

This perennial’s stiff, upright, unbranched stems, 1-3 ft. tall, grow in wide-spreading clumps. The tufted, purple flowers are densely congested in a long spike on the upper part of the stem. The leaves are narrow and crowded, becoming progressively smaller upward.

Liatris species attract butterflies.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Dakota mock vervain
(Glandularia bipinnatifida)

Long bloomer, with consistent blooms from summer through fall.

Gently rounded clusters of bilaterally symmetrical pink, lavender, or purple flowers bloom atop stems with highly divided leaves. The Spanish name, Moradilla, comes from morado (“purple”) and means “little purple one.” This plant often forms brilliant displays of pink or light purple, covering acres of ground. It is a variable complex, with some plants tall and pink-flowered, others more matted and with lavender or purple flowers; the two forms are usually found in separate areas. The genus Glandularia is closely related to Verbena, differing conspicuously in its round-topped clusters of showy flowers; in some references, this species is listed as Verbena ambrosifolia.

This species is a member of the verbena family (family Verbenaceae), which includes about 75 genera and 3,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, mostly of tropical and warm temperate regions. Among them, teak is a highly prized furniture wood, and Vervain, Lantana, Lippia or Frog Fruit are grown as ornamentals.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Downy ragged goldenrod
(Solidago petiolaris)

Very late-blooming plant, sometimes into November.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Golden crownbeard
(Verbesina encelioides)

Annual plant. Tolerates disturbed soils.

A well-branched grayish-green plant, leaves alternate or opposite, toothed, nearly triangular. Yellow flower heads are up to 2 inches (5 cm) across and have 3-toothed rays. The silvery green leaves are triangular with toothed margins.

This plant is common on disturbed ground and sometimes colors acres or miles of roadside solid yellow.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Gray goldenrod
(Solidago nemoralis)

Tolerates poor and dry soils. Shorter than most other goldenrod species.

Slender-stemmed plant, 1 1/2 to 2 ft. tall. Thin, coarsly-toothed leaves. Flowers occur on the upper side of hairy stalks which arch out and downward creating a vase-shaped flower cluster. Clumps of slender, gray-downy stems produce terminal, one-sided, yellow plumes that gives the perennial a vase-shaped appearance. A small goldenrod, this plant seldom reaches 2 ft. in height.

Prairie Goldenrod attracts butterflies. Individual plants bloom at various times, thus extending the flowering season.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Lateflowering thoroughwort
(Eupatorium serotinum)

Nectar attracts bees, butterflies, and other insects. Seeds eaten by birds.

Late Boneset is a member of the aster family (family Asteraceae) which includes herbs, sometimes shrubs or vines, rarely trees, with simple or compound, alternate or opposite leaves. Flowers small, but organized into larger heads resembling a single, radially symmetrical flower cupped by a ring of green bracts. Flower-like heads: tiny, radially symmetrical central flowers form the disk; larger flowers around the edge, the rays, strap-shaped and resembling petals; however, all flowers in one had may be disk flowers or rays.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Pitcher sage
(Salvia azurea)

Tough plant with long-blooming flowers. Does well in dry soils.

A tall, delicate plant with large, 2-lipped, blue flowers, whorled around the square stem and forming a terminal spike-like cluster.

A widespread perennial of the grasslands, it also extends east to the Carolinas. It begins to flower early and may continue until fall, or into early winter in Florida.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Sneezeweed
(Helenium amarum)

Long-blooming annual.

Helenium amarum has stems covered with almost-threadlike leaves.

The genus is thought to have been named by Linnaeus for Helen of Troy. The legend is that the flowers sprung up from the ground where her tears fell.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 Texas Lantana
(Lantana urticoides)

A spreading shrub, much branched from the ground upward, branches sometimes with prickles. Frequent in brushy places and in woodlands. Bark light gray to light brown, tending to flake off. Young twigs nearly square in cross section, covered with short hairs visible under a 10x hand lens. Leaves opposite, up to 2 1/2 inches long, broadly ovate, pointed at the tip, flattened at the base, upper surface rough to the touch; margins coarsely toothed, teeth broad, pointed or rounded. Flowers colorful, red, orange, and yellow, tubular with four flared lobes; in dense, rounded clusters with a leafy bract subtending each flower, at the ends of long paired stems (peduncles) usually extending beyond the leaves, appearing from April to October. Fruit round, fleshy, dark blue to black.

This species is a member of the verbena family (family Verbenaceae), which includes about 75 genera and 3,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, mostly of tropical and warm temperate regions. Among them, teak is a highly prized furniture wood, and Vervain, Lantana, Lippia or Frog Fruit, and Chaste Tree or Vitex are grown as ornamentals.

More from USDA Plants Database »
 White crownbeard
(Verbesina virginica)

Biennial plant. Does best when allowed to naturalize.

This easy-to-grow Verbesina lends stately, dark green leaves and white, autumn flowers to the dappled shade found at the edges of woodlands, where it can form sizable colonies with its spreading rhizomes. Each stem has soft, fleshy green flanges running longitudinally down its length. When winter weather brings ice, the stems exude water that freezes into fascinating shapes, hence its common name Frostweed. This plant is best suited for naturalizing rather than formal landscapes.

The ice crystals formed on the stems of this and other plant species have been given many names - among them: ice ribbons, ice flowers, ice fringes, ice fingers, ice filaments, ice leaves, frost flowers, frost ribbons, frost freaks, frost beards, frost castles (Forrest M. Mims III http://www.forrestmims.org/gallery.html), crystallofolia (coined by Bob Harms at The University of Texas), rabbit ice and rabbit butter.

More from USDA Plants Database »