The monarch’s life cycle is solely dependent upon MILKWEED ~ the monarch’s HOST PLANT. Scientifically known as asclepias, there are over 100 varieties of milkweed across the USA. Milkweed is NOT just another weed. It is a natural wonder – with a unique life cycle of its own. Without milkweed, the monarch cannot exist, yet across the USA, milkweed is being cut down! Parking lots, condominiums, and shopping malls are replacing the fields. Milkweed is from the plant family Asclepiadaceae – the genus of herbaceous, non-woody plants. Asclepias can be compared with the orchid family and produce very complex flowers in the plant kingdom. Its name is derived from the milky, latex type sap that is secreted when stems are broken – the sap contains cardenolides which can be toxic and useful for protecting against dangers. A predator will experience a bitter taste and learns to stay away from the bright orange and yellow patterned colors. The adult butterfly stores the cardenolides in their systems for protection.
PHOTOS: Jennifer Carey, Debi Armbruster and Lynn Rosenblatt
Breathtaking Video of the Monarch’s Nursery…a “POM-POM” PARADISE!
Pollination, Plants and Insects – Approach Milkweed Carefully!!
This 30-minute video from Wisconsin Public Radio featuring Gae Bergmann, Master Gardener at the Dodge County Master Gardener Association, discusses how to attract monarch butterflies by planting milkweed. Bergmann explains the life stages of the butterflies and provides information for creating a habitat that attracts the insects. Explore the full archive of WPT’s University Place lectures online at http://wpt.org/universityplace
PHOTO: Edith Smith
PHOTO: Holli Webb Hearn
Monarch Butterflies are not the only ones who love to eat Milkweed.
This MUNCHING MACHINE can devour an entire plant!!!
PHOTO: M.J. Raupp
PHOTO: Patrick Coin
PHOTO: Sue Carnahan
PHOTO: Wynn Anderson
PHOTO: J.E. Smith
PHOTO Lunch, Blanco County, Texas
PHOTO: Steven Madsen
PHOTO: Aaron Schuster
PHOTO: © Mark Hutchinson 2012
PHOTO: © Peter M. Dziuk
PHOTO: Pinterest MGB
PHOTO: Country High Gardens Photo
PHOTO: Jim McCormack
PHOTO: Stephanie Puckett
PHOTO: Carol Pasternak
Monarch Butterflies need our help! Join local efforts to plant milkweed in schoolyards, libraries, and backyards across the USA.
These resources will get you started.