Showy, elongate clusters of purple, pea-like flowers top the 1-2 ft. stems of this perennial lupine. Blue, pea-like flowers are in an upright, elongated, terminal cluster on an erect stem with palmately compound leaves. Its leaves are palmately divided into 7-11 leaflets. Occasionally flowers range from pink to white.
The plant was once thought to deplete or wolf the mineral content of the soil; hence the genus name derived from the Latin lupus (wolf). Actually the plant and all the family enhances soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form. In the south this flower has narrower leaflets and is often recognized as a separate species, Nuttals Lupine (L. nuttallii). Two southern species with undivided elliptic leaves are Spreading Lupine (L. diffusus), with blue flowers and a whitish spot on the standard (upper petal), and Hairy Lupine (L. villosus), a hairy plant with lavender-blue flowers and a red-purple spot on the standard. They are found from North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana. A species found in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado, Nebraska Lupine (L. plattensis), has blue flowers with a dark spot on the standard and paddle-shaped leaflets. L. polyphyllus is becoming extremely abundant in the Northeast, particularly Maine and adjacent Canada; it was introduced from the Northwest.
Warning: Plants in the genus Lupinus, especially the seeds, can be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. POISONOUS PARTS: Seeds. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include respiratory depression and slow heartbeat, sleepiness, convulsions. Toxic Principle: Alkaloids such as lupinine, anagyrine, sparteine, and hydroxylupanine.
Asclepias viridiflora Short Green Milkweed is a Michigan native milkweed. While somewhat rare it has an extensive range throughout the United States. The plant matures to 1-3′ in height making it a nice choice for borders. Short Green Milkweed blooms during early summer with blooms lasting about three weeks. Flowers are light green to green and as the plant matures the flowers begin to turn yellowish green or purplish green. It prefers full to partial sun and grows in a variety of soils but prefers dry-mesic to mesic. Habitats include openings in upland forests that are rocky or sandy; upland black soil prairies, sand prairies, gravel prairies, and hill prairies; barrens, limestone glades, and sand dunes; and abandoned fields.
The flowers attract bumblebees and butterflies. Also known as Green Milkweed, Green Comet Milkweed, Green Antelopehorn Milkweed, Green-Flowered Milkweed.
Relatively rare in the wild and in cultivation, this coneflower is stunning in summer and flowers for an extended period. It’s bright pure yellow flowers consist of drooping petals surrounding a soft brown cone. Butterflies and other beneficials will flock to the flowers for nectar. Goldfinches devoured the seeds in late summer and fall.
Densely packed clusters of clear light blue flowers provide outstanding color in the garden from late summer into fall. Since this species has a dwarf, compact habit, it will not require staking. 'Wood's' selections have shown excellent resistance to mildew and rust.
Asters are excellent cut flowers and attract butterflies. They make a terrific accent to fall blooming grasses and the changing colors of the trees. They are native to North America and are generally very easy to grow.
Swamp Milkweed occurs throughout most of the United States. It is a tall plant found in moist habitats such as wet meadows, floodplains, riverbanks, pond shores, stream banks, wet woods, swamps, and marshes, although it will also grow in drier areas such as prairies, fields, and roadsides. Swamp milkweed needs full sun or partial shade to flourish. Flowers are fragrant and very attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees as a nectar source. Swamp milkweed is also an important food source for the larval stage of Monarch butterflies. The plants are deer resistant and heat tolerant. Also known as Rose Milkweed, Red Milkweed, and Marsh Milkweed.
Aquatic Milkweed is a petite white milkweed suitable for wet soils. It survives in water and will grow in light-sandy and medium-loamy soils. Native to stream sides it is generally most common in lightly shaded woodlands near streams. This little milkweed is a great performer, being shade tolerant and flowering spring through autumn.
Asclepias hirtella Tall Green Milkweed is a Michigan native although it is considered threatened in the state. Tall Green Milkweed is found throughout the Tallgrass Prairie region in open areas, usually in prairies or remnants of prairies and throughout the midwest. Though not as well known as other varieties of milkweed, Tall Green Milkweed distinguishes itself with abundant clusters of green-white flowers that attract many butterflies and bees.
Spikes of elegant white flowers top shiny green foliage in late summer and early fall. Grows best in moist meadows, stream banks, and swamps. Favorite breeding site for the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly.
Asclepias syriaca Common Milkweed is the plant most people think of when they hear the word ‘milkweed’. This Michigan native occurs throughout most of the United States and thrives in almost any well drained soil and produces a profusion of fragrant mauve colored flowers in midsummer. The sweet scented flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators and beneficial insects. Of all the milkweeds this is the easiest and fastest to establish, yet it is known to be invasive and must be used with care. This milkweed grows best in full sun and average to well-drained soil with no irrigation and will tolerate extreme conditions.