Common Milkweed: Asclepias syriaca
This graphite pencil, together with coloured pencil, composition, is of a Common Milkweed native plant. The plant produces a poisonous sap in both the stem and leaves. The Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch Butterfly, and the larvae of the butterfly feed on the sap without harm, which act as a natural defense against predators. Once a predator, such as a bird, has tried to eat a Monarch Butterfly, it will shun the species for life after ingesting the bitter taste from the stored sap.
The addition of the Monarch Butterfly, in coloured pencil, was added to illustrate the importance of the at risk and endangered Monarch Butterfly. Today the Milkweed plant is encouraged to be planted in home gardens as the plant is critical to the survival of the fragile Monarch Butterfly population.