By Robert A. Behrstock
The rarely encountered wasp
transfers pollinia as it takes nectar from Arizona milkweed.
Arizona milkweed is a Mexican species barely entering the United States. Small populations inhabit moist canyons in isolated “Sky Island” mountain ranges hosting numerous other tropical plants and animals. Its flowers attract a huge assortment of butterflies and other insects, and, unlike some other Southwestern milkweeds, the plant is easily propagated, making it a valuable addition to pollinator gardens and habitat restoration sites. Its value for monarch butterflies has been suggested but is unclear. Of the many insects attracted to its nectar, those serving to pollinate its flowers have not been identified.