Milkweed Native to Southeastern U.S. A few are already flying through Atlanta, depositing eggs on last year's milkweed, readying to migrate to summer up North. Information on monarch population dynamics and milkweed seed availability by region can be found in Appendix IV of the Xerces Society document Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide . Perhaps most famously, milkweed species serve as the host plant for the monarch butterfly. What’s more, their egg-laying preference can change according to the time of season, the prevalence and habitat of the milkweed species they encounter, and the plants’ robustness and maturity. That’s the conclusion of a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists who monitored the egg-laying preferences of female monarch butterflies. The first thing to consider is where you live. Throughout, the team kept data on plant height, number of blooms, and pod size as potential indicators of attractiveness to the butterflies. The winner is the Asclepias incarnata, common name: Swamp milkweed I'm happily married to Stacy and together we are raising James, who is medically fragile. Prior to James being born, we had lost a son, Jackson, during pregnancy. The decline is partly attributed to shrinking milkweed habitat, especially in the Midwest. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. To find out, he collaborated with researchers from Iowa State University (ISU) on a multi-year field study that evaluated the attractiveness of nine milkweed species common to Iowa, a state that’s centrally located in the butterfly’s midwestern breeding range. The best soil t… With over 1000 species of milkweed around the world, which is the best for your garden? Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, K, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Green Antelopehorn, Spider Milkweed (Note that Green Milkweed and Spider Milkweed are also common names for, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, link to How We Started Our Butterfly Garden, If you are looking for milkweed plants at your local garden center, you must make sure that the plants were. Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. With shifting land management practices, we have lost much milkweed from the landscape. To help sustain monarchs and other butterflies, you should plant at least a few milkweed species that are native to your area. Native Narrow-leaved Milkweed is perfectly suitable to most of our gardens, as long as you understand its growth cycle and know what to … For example, Asclepias tuberosa is the scientific name for the milkweed that we currently have growing in our garden. Milkweed plants, primarily from the genus Asclepias, are the only food source of monarch caterpillars. This list does not contain all varieties of milkweed, just the best kinds of milkweed to support monarchs in your region. Three species of milkweed are good all-around choices for gardens in most regions of the country: common milkweed (A. syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), and butterfly weed (A. tuberosa). Asclepias californica – it has deep pink or magenta flowers. A few words about Monarchs, Milkweeds, and Milkweed growth. They had planted milkweed outside the building, 18+ plants by my count, and there were TONS of monarch larvae, with lines of chrysalises along the building’s siding. The leaves contain cardiac glycosides, compounds that affect heart function, making them toxic to most species of birds and mammals. Every year, monarch butterflies make a multi-generational migration to and from overwintering sites in mountain regions of Central Mexico. Not all species of milkweed will survive in all climates. Mexican milkweed, also known as tropical milkweed, delays the butterflies' instinctual fall migration through North Texas to the point of destruction, but there's a simple solution. Monarch Joint Venture recommends these regional milkweed species. The Florida Wildflower Foundation is supporting research at the Florida Museum of Natural History that is documenting the effect of chemicals applied to Tropical milkweed on Monarch caterpillars. Over the past 2 decades, however, monarch numbers east of the Rockies have fallen by 80 to 90 percent. The Florida Museum of Natural History, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Butter˜y Conservation Initiative and the Monarch Joint Venture are working to help raise awareness and produce reliable sources of native milkweed. Answer: There are three species of milkweed that are recommended for the Orange County, CA area: 1. If you want to help increase the Monarch population, milkweed is the first plant you should consider adding to your garden. It is a favorite egg-laying plant which grows quickly and will sprout many seed pods. Instead, conservators should also consider supplementary plantings of other species—especially in habitat areas subject to variable climates or soil types. The different species of milkweed will start with Asclepias, followed by a second word for the particular type of milkweed. Save Our Monarchs is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to saving the embattled monarch butterflies. A few years ago, I decided to start a memorial butterfly garden in honor of Jackson. When you are looking for milkweed plants, either at your local garden center or online, they will normally list both the scientific and the common names. However, there’s been no systematic study of which milkweed species the butterfly prefers most—an important consideration in maximizing the effectiveness of conservation efforts, notes Hellmich. However, when given a choice, their favorite milkweed by far, is the Asclepias incarnata, common name: Swamp milkweed. Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and common milkweed (A. syriaca) averaged the highest number of eggs. It’s also important to cut back the milkweed to encourage migration; although there are overwintering sites in Marin, it’s best for the butterflies to be in a frost free location. Before we dive into the different types of milkweed, let’s get some of the sciencey stuff out of the way. This is the stage in the life cycle where the caterpillar changes to a butterfly. Are you looking for inspiration, or ideas? Because monarch caterpillars can only grow to adulthood when feeding on milkweeds (Asclepias. There is a public misconception that only one species of Milkweed can be used by Monarch Butterfly caterpillars; this is not true! The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. It all started with an accidental visit to a City of Santa Monica building near Santa Monica airport. ), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. I do not currently participate in any affiliate programs, and therefore, I am not compensated from any links that are included in any of the articles on this site. spp. You just need to be aware that you need to take a little extra precaution with these plants. As I was researching butterfly gardens, I kept coming across articles about how the Monarch butterfly population was declining at a drastic rate, so I decided to make "Saving the Monarch" the goal of the garden. Northeast Region Common milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca ) Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Monarch’s Favorite Milkweed. Asclepias eriocarpa – also called woolypod milkweed or Indian milkweed, it has … Varieties of Asclepias: Dr. Richard Mills’ outstanding article on “Milkweed and Monarchs” was reprinted in the Fall 2001 issue of the Virginia Butterfly Bulletin. (Peggy Greb, D4225-1). Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). The stems and leav… For these reasons, the researchers caution against focusing restoration efforts on a single preferred species, like swamp milkweed. Throughout this article, I will discuss several of the different milkweed species and their various attributes so that you can pick out the best milkweed for Monarchs in you particular area. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp. Other species used by monarchs, in order of their abundance and preference, are A. incarnata (swamp milkweed), A. tuberosa (butterflyweed), A. verticillata (whorled milkweed), and A. exaltata (poke milkweed). The best time to cut down milkweed … This site is owned and operated by Jeff Fulkerson. Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming. (Peggy Greb, D4226-1). Swamp Milkweed eventually matures to forms clumps up to 36" across. IMPORTANT NOTE: The species of milkweed we offer is Asclepias syriaca. ), planting native milkweed is a critical component of supporting monarchs and helping their numbers recover. Female monarchs will lay eggs on all nine milkweed species, but they prefer some over others. The monarch’s top 4 favorite milkweed species are bolded in the list below.. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Below are highlights of the team’s findings, led by ISU scientist Victoria Pocius, and reported in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution: A monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, feeds on a New England aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, flower. Other common names for Asclepias tuberosa include butterfly love, butterfly milkweed, Canada root, chigger flower, chiggerflower, fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, orange milkweed, orange root, orange Swallow-wort, pleurisy root, silky swallow-wort, tuber root, yellow milkweed, white-root, and windroot. Milkweeds in the genus Asclepias provide the only plant material monarch caterpillars can eat. You can plant them closer and then thin the plants as they grow in, or, plant Swamp Milkweed and its cultivars between 30” and 36” apart. Swamp milkweed and the next few listed below are known to … We call it by one of its common names: Butterfly Weed. The findings indicate that while female monarchs do make choices, they don’t specialize in reproducing on a single milkweed species. In Southern California, gardeners have milkweed choices when outdoor plant shopping.For decades the most common milkweed species in our gardens has been a Central American species sometimes called Tropical Milkweed, or more correctly Asclepias currassivica.It is a magnet for monarchs and even a single plant in a garden will soon display a few colorful caterpillars dining on its leaves. I'm Jeff Fulkerson. A native plant is one that has occurred naturally in a particular region without human introduction. According to an ARS and Iowa State University study of nine milkweed species native to Iowa, female monarch butterflies laid eggs in all nine milkweeds, but the swamp and common milkweed averaged the highest number of eggs. It used to be widely distributed throughout North America, but as we keep taking vacant land and turning into sprawling urban areas; housing subdivisions; condo and apartment complexes; industrial and technology parks; farms; and roads, there has been a significant decrease in this key Monarch plant. This information will help growers produce the best plants possible for Monarchs. I guess you can say that it is a necessary evil to save the Monarchs. In this article, I'll explain how we started our butterfly garden, and what we've learned along the way.... Each spring the eastern North American Monarch butterflies leave their overwintering sites in Mexico and start their journey north, reaching all the way to Canada, 3,000 miles away. 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