Butterfly Weed Vs. Milkweed


Butterfly weed and milkweed are two wildflowers that attract butterflies and are especially attractive to the monarch butterflies who lay their eggs on all species of milkweed. There are several variations of milkweed, and butterfly weed is one of those variations.

Same Family

  • Milkweed is a general name for all species of plants in the genus Asclepias. Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa L.) is a member of the milkweed or Asclepias family.


  • Butterfly weed, like other plants in the milkweed family, is a perennial plant. Butterfly weed and other milkweed plants will grow and spread year after year in a location once it is established.


  • Butterfly weed and other milkweed plants can be easily propagated by digging up and transplanting established plants.

Seed Dispersal

  • The weeds of plants in the milkweed family, including butterfly weed, are dispersed by the wind. Mature seed pods split open and the seeds–which are attaches to milkweed fluff–will be carried away by the wind.

Monarch Butterflies

  • Monarch butterfly larva or caterpillars feed on all species of the milkweed family, including butterfly weed. Milkweed plants also provide nectar for adult butterflies.


  • Butterfly weed is one of the most vibrant members of the milkweed family with its bright orange flower clusters.

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