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Stages of Monarch

The monarch will lay a single egg on the underside of milkweed leaf. The egg will hatch in about four days and then begin this five stages of instar (molting) before creating a chrysalis (pupa). The fully formed monarch emerges in about two weeks. This can occur up to 300 times in the monarch lifecycle.

Plant Descriptions

Flowers and Pods

Milkweed Identification

Davis and Pallid Milkweed

Grows in dry, open, barren places such as washes, slopes and hillsides, pinyon/juniper woodlands, sagebrush and in salt desert shrub areas.

This species can also grow in clay, sand, gypsum or serpentine soils.

The plants are low growing with flowers gathered in small clusters on drooping stalks. The leaves and stems have a waxy coating giving them a frosted appearance.

Desert Milkweed

Grows in dry washes, gulches, canyons and roadsides in open deserts. Can also be found in the creosote bush, shadscale and sometimes sagebrush communities.

The desert milkweed plants are tall and stout with large, broad leaves that are opposite each other on the stems. The leaves, stems, flower buds and fruit are covered in fine hairs.

Horsetail Milkweed

Prefers sandy soils and grows in the following plant communities: creosote, blackbrush, saltbush,rabbitbrush, pinyon/juniper, mountain brush and open ponderosa pine.

The horsetail also grows on roadsides and along ditches and streams.

The fruits are narrow, tapered and smooth-textured.

Narrowleaf Milkweed

Narrowleaf milkweed, also known as Mexican whorled milkweed, growns in pinyon-juniper, sagebrush and mountain brush communities.

It prefers moist to dry places including streambeds, roadsides, the banks of irrigation ditches and plowed fields.

The plant has multiple clusters of small pink and white flowers. The leaves are narrow and numerous often folded lengthwise. The fruits are narrow, tapered and smooth.

This species resembles the horsetail milkweed and the whorled milkweed.

Rush Milkweed

The rush milkweed grows in washes and sandy well-drained soils.

The grayish green leaves are small and linear, 1 to 2 inches long by ⅛ inch wide, and indistinct unless adequate moisture is available.

The fruit is horn shaped up to 3 inches long.

Showy Milkweed

Prefers moist to moderately moist soil in open, sunny, areas including wetlands, meadows,dry streambeds and also along streams,roadsides and the banks of irrigation ditches.

The showy milkweed, tolerant of alkaline soil, sometimes grows in stands of several hundred plants.

The plants are stout and erect with broad leaves covered in soft hairs. The hoods of the flowers are elongated and shaped like a 5-pointed star. The fruit, generally in pairs, are rough and covered in dense, wooly hair.

Spider Milkweed

Grows in gravelly and rocky soil or on exposed talus in ponderosa pine, woodland, pinyon-juniper, sagebrush and mountain brush communities.

The plants are lowgrowing and often form dense clumps.

Spider milkweeds are different from other milkweeds as the corolla of the flower forms a cup around the corona rather than being bent backward.

The tear-drop shaped fruits are covered in fine hairs and sometimes have a striped pattern.

Swamp Milkweed

Requires full sun and generally grows in damp to wet soils or areas that are occasionally flooded such as edges of ponds, streams or along ditches.

Its stems are branched and the clump forming plants emerge in late spring after most plants have begun their annual growth.

The bright green paired leaves, 3 to 6 inches long, are long, narrow and lance shaped, with the ends tapering to a sharp poi