Monarch caterpillar on joe Pye weed?

Harrison, OH

Really excited to have monarch caterpillars in our Butterly garden our first year! We also have swallowtails and red spotted purples. We found the monarch caterpillars eating our joe Pye weed though. Has anyone else seen monarchs caterpillars feasting on joe Pye weed? We have not been successful with our milkweed yet and unless the nursery mislabeled the joe Pye weed, we do not have any milkweed.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Welcome to DG, JaclynL!

It's wonderful that you have a Butterfly garden.
Can you post pictures of both the caterpillars and the Joe Pye Weed?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Jaclyn, Welcome to the Butterfly gardening forum. Very interesting about the cats on your Joe Pye. I wonder if indeed your plant is an A. encarnata or one of the other milkweeds. I looked on the Plant Files and there are similarities between some Joe Pye's and some milkweeds but of course the monarch cats eat only the milkweed. There are other butterflies that use Joe Pye as a host plant though. In any case, maybe you will be able to confirm which one it is if your plant produces seed pods instead of seed heads, like most flowers...if it's pods, of course it's very likely a milkweed.

Let us know what you find out.


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