This native plant is commonly known as butterfly weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its nectar. It is host (food) plant for the queen and monarch butterflies, as well as the dogbane tiger moth, milkweed tussock moth, and the unexpected cycnia. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted to it. It is not a preferred host plant of the monarch butterfly but caterpillars can be reared on it successfully. However, it is one of the very lowest Asclepias species in cardenolide content, making it a poor source of protection from bird predation and parasite virulence.