This beautiful bloom showed up in the Prairie Habitat Garden about a week ago and ever since then, I’ve been trying to figure out what it is. My 8 year old super assistant (my son), helped me search books and online for this mysterious beauty. We used search terms like “red”, “dark pink”, “flower”, “Saskatchewan” and didn’t turn up anything that resembled it. We ended up emailing this photo to Janet McVittie who is a faculty member connected to the Prairie Habitat Garden and she suggested it might be Milkweed. Sure enough, it is Swamp Milkweed.
A bit of research about this flower quickly taught us that it has a strong connection to Monarch Butterflies. Apparently, this plant and flower is a favourite food of the black and white striped caterpillar that becomes a Monarch and it also lays it’s eggs in the bloom. Although we didn’t see any caterpillers or butterflies this year, hopefully our Swamp Milkweed reseeds itself and becomes a favourite location for Monarch Butterflies in the future.