Most flowers on the prairie are yellow, pink/blue, or white. Butterfly Milkweed
is unusual in being orange, pure and simple. It is a typical plant of xeric sand
prairies, and blooms freely during the hottest, driest part of July, its tube shaped
bunches of flowers providing nectar during a transitional period when nectar
producing flowers are relatively scarce. Its deep root system and milky sap protect
it from desication.
The butterfly pictured here appears to be an aphrodite, (Speyeria aphrodite) a colorful species considered by Panzer, et al. (1995) to be highly prairie dependent. The larval host plants are viola species such as Viola pedata; it is reasonable to believe that maintenance of a healthy population of these butterflies requires a habitat with violets and Butterfly Milkweed.