Narrow leaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis):
With a very straight forward name, this beautiful and common plant in California has thin, squiggly leaves that whirl around the stem. Though not pictured, this perennial has a showy display of white or purple-white flowers that cluster at the top during bloom. A favorite for many butterfly gardens, this plant is important because it is the larval host plant for Monarch butterflies! Though it is often found in very dry, warm areas, Milkweed exists at Cosumnes River Preserve. You just need a keen eye to detect! If you are planning to use Milkweed in your garden, note that it doesn’t always look showy and you may not want it to be the center of attention. The Monarch caterpillars chomp on the leaves and tit dies back in the winter. However, if you want the chance of having Monarchs in your garden, it will be a great addition!
*What’s that blue bug!? It’s the Cobalt Milkweed beetle! Though Milkweed is poisonous to most, both the Cobalt beetle and Monarch can safely eat its leaves.