Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly milkweed

recently added

Sonchgus oleraceus, common sowthistle

Added 12/20/2017: Common sowthistle, Sonchus oleraceus.

Sonchgus asper, prickly sowthistle

Added 12/20/2017: Prickly sowthistle, Sonchus asper.

Cornus drummondii, rough-leaved dogwood

Added 10/20/2017: Rough-leaved dogwood, Cornus drummondii.

Chrysemys picta, painted turtle

Added 10/8/2017: Painted turtle, Chrysemys picta.

Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-pulpit

Added 9/25/2017: Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum.

Rhytisma americanum, tar spot of maple

Added 9/18/2017: Tar spot of maple, Rhytisma americanum, is a harmless parasite.

Acer rubrum, red maple

Added 9/18/2017: Red maple, Acer rubrum, displays red in every season.

Acer saccharinum, silver maple

Added 9/18/2017: Silver maple, Acer saccharinum, has distinctive leaves.

Danaus plexippus, monarch butterfly

Added 9/9/2017: The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, is a Midwestern icon.

Asclepias syriaca, common milkweed

Added 9/9/2017: Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca hosts diverse insects.

Turdus migratorius, American robin

Added 8/23/2017: The American robin, Turdus migratorius, has an unfortunate scientific name.

Added 8/22/2017: Pokeweed, Phytolacca america, makes amazing berries in late summer.

Added 8/12/2017: The wood duck, Aix sponsa, is an unmistakeable bird.

Added 7/21/2017: The brown-headed cowbird, Molothrus ater, lays its eggs in the nests of other birds!

Added 7/21/2017: Eastern cottonwood, Populus deltoides, is a towering riparian tree.

Added 7/20/2017: The widow skimmer, Libellula luctuosa, is a common sight near water.

Added 7/19/2017: Butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa, has deep orange flowers.

Added 7/19/2017: Dogbane, Apocynum cannabinum, is common throughout the Midwest.


Pictured above are the flowers of Asclepias tuberosa, known as "butterfly weed" or "butterfly milkweed." As its common names suggest, it is a favorite of monarchs and other butterflies, appearing in summer throughout the Midwest. It is easily identified by its gorgeous orange flowers and its alternating, narrowly oblong, pointed leaves.

Midwestnaturalist.com is the creation of Michael and Melissa Kuo, and our son, Will. We are not biologists (Michael is an English teacher, and Melissa is a banker), and we're definitely not professional photographers—but we love learning about the outdoors. If you have a question or a comment, please feel free to contact us at .

The Midwest is large and diverse, containing many different ecosystems. We are based in central Illinois, where the corn and soybean fields stretch to the horizons and the woods (primarily oak-hickory and cottonwood-sycamore forests) follow rivers and un-tillable land. In the northern Midwest, however, ecosystems range from beech-maple woods to cedar swamps and sub-boreal forests (among others), while in the southern Midwest one can find southern forest ecosystems and, in Kentucky and southern Ohio, Appalachian ecosystems, famous for their natural diversity. That's a lot to cover—but we love to travel, explore, and learn!

The information at our site is based on our own observations, with reference to an ever-growing collection of online and printed source material (see our references page) that we rely on for help with identifications and context.

Edibility and toxicity are not a primary focus for us; we think nature is much more engaging, important, and interesting than figuring out what happens to humans when they pass its organisms through their digestive systems. We will mention toxicity when it is reported by our sources, and edibility when we have actually tried eating whatever it is, but you should definitely consult a different source if your interests are culinary.


map of the Midwest

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Site index

About us

     Acer rubrum—(red maple)
     Acer saccharinum—(silver maple)

Aix sponsa—(wood duck)

American robin—(Turdus migratorius)

Aphis nerii—(oleander aphid)

Apocynum cannabinum—(dogbane)

Arisaema triphyllum—(Jack-in-the-pulpit)

     Asclepias syriaca—(common milkweed)
     Asclepias tuberosa—(butterfly milkweed / butterfly weed)

Brown-headed cowbird—(Molothrus ater)

Butterfly milkweed / butterfly weed—(Asclepias tuberosa)

Chrysemys picta—(painted turtle)

Chrysochus auratus—(dogbane beetle)

Contact—Please feel free to contact us at .

Cornus drummondii—(rough-leaved dogwood)

Cottonwood—(Populus deltoides)

Cycnia inopinatus—(unexpected Cycnia)

Danaus plexippus—(monarch butterfly)

Dogbane—(Apocynum cannabinum)

     Rough-leaved dogwood—(Cornus drummondii)

Euchaetes egle—(milkweed tiger moth)

Dogbane beetle—(Chrysochus auratus)


Jack-in-the-pulpit—(Arisaema triphyllum)

Jack-in-the-pulpit rust—(Uromyces ari-triphylli)

Large milkweed bug—(Oncopeltus fasciatus)

Libellula luctuosa—(widow skimmer)

Limenitis archippus—(viceroy butterfly)

     Red maple—(Acer rubrum)
     Silver maple—(Acer saccharinum)

     Butterfly milkweed / butterfly weed—(Asclepias tuberosa)
     Common milkweed—(Asclepias syriaca)

Milkweed tiger moth—(Euchaetes egle)

Molothrus ater—(brown-headed cowbird)

Monarch butterfly—(Danaus plexippus)

Oleander aphid—(Aphis nerii)

Oncopeltus fasciatus—(large milkweed bug)

Painted turtle—(Chrysemys picta ater)

Phytolacca americana—(pokeweed)

Pokeweed—(Phytolacca americana)

Populus deltoides—(eastern cottonwood)

Red milkweed beetle—(Tetraopes tertophthalmus)

References — List of resources consulted and/or cited.

Rhytisma americanum—(tar spot of maple)

Robin—(Turdus migratorius)

     Sonchus asper—(prickly sowthistle)
     Sonchus oleraceus—(common sowthistle)

     Common sowthistle—(Sonchus oleraceus)
     Prickly sowthistle—(Sonchus asper)

Tar spot of maple—(Rhytisma americanum)

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus—(red milkweed beetle)

Turdus migratorius—(American robin)

Unexpected Cycnia—(Cycnia inopinatus)

Uromyces ari-triphylli—(Jack-in-the-pulpit rust)

Viceroy butterfly—(Limenitis archippus)

Widow skimmer—(Libellula luctuosa)

Wood duck—(Aix sponsa)

Kuo, Michael & Melissa Kuo (2017). Midwestnaturalist.com homepage. Retrieved from the midwestnaturalist.com website: www.midwestnaturalist.com/index.html

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