Not all milkweeds are created equal when it comes to species of the native flowering plants that monarch butterflies prefer most. –By Jan Suszkiw, ARS Office of Communications. Monarch Joint Venture recommends these regional milkweed species. 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. This list does not contain all varieties of milkweed, just the best kinds of milkweed to support monarchs in your region. Because monarch caterpillars can only grow to adulthood when feeding on milkweeds (Asclepias. Monarchs lay eggs specifically on milkweed, the eggs hatch into caterpillars and the caterpillars eat the foliage. 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. Monarch’s Favorite Milkweed. Asclepias californica – it has deep pink or magenta flowers. A native plant is one that has occurred naturally in a particular region without human introduction. (Peggy Greb, D4225-1). They're ready to grow outside the greenhouse at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Are you thinking about starting a butterfly garden? The monarchs don't know coronavirus either, best we know. We’ve been growing Butterfly Weed in our garden for a few years now and I only recall having minor skin irritations on my arms after they came into contact with the plants. Asclepias eriocarpa – also called woolypod milkweed or Indian milkweed, it has … The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. A few words about Monarchs, Milkweeds, and Milkweed growth. The findings indicate that while female monarchs do make choices, they don’t specialize in reproducing on a single milkweed species. Heart-leaf milkweed or purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia) Save Our Monarchs is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to saving the embattled monarch butterflies. 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 get their poisonous chemicals from the milkweed plants they eat as larvae. And this popular plant hosts many more besides monarchs. Answer: There are three species of milkweed that are recommended for the Orange County, CA area: 1. Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana. Restoration efforts call for reestablishing milkweed populations in these important summer breeding areas. 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. 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. Monarchs favor a variety of milkweeds, and in fact, with variety they’ll lay more eggs. For example, Butterfly Weed (a type of milkweed) thrives in our garden in the upper Midwest of the US, but would not survive the hot summers in southern Florida. Common Milkweed. Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Every year, monarch butterflies migrate to and from overwintering sites in mountain regions of Central Mexico. 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. Caption: Narrow-leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) is a native species that grows on our local hillsides and is an excellent foodplant for Monarch butterflies. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. We are gardeners who believe that getting dirt under our fingernails and planting milkweed seeds – the monarch caterpillar's only source of sustenance – is the best way to save the endangered butterflies. 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. Milkweed plants, primarily from the genus Asclepias, are the only food source of monarch caterpillars. A monarch butterfly perches on milkweed at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., Friday, May 31, 2019. They arrive in their summer breeding grounds – the Midwest - in late spring and in two or three generations dramatically increase their populations before returning to Mexico. Not all species of milkweed will survive in all climates. For now I will just list about 30 varieties that can be found around North America. Before we dive into the different types of milkweed, let’s get some of the sciencey stuff out of the way. A few are already flying through Atlanta, depositing eggs on last year's milkweed, readying to migrate to summer up North. 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). 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. (Richard Hellmich, D4236-1). Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and common milkweed (A. syriaca) averaged the highest number of eggs. Which Milkweeds Do Monarch Butterflies Prefer? 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. Planting Milkweed (Asclepias) is essential to creating a habitat for the beloved Monarch butterfly's survival, as they are the only plants on which Monarch caterpillars will feed. San Antonio and Austin, Texas — Fall is the time to plant wildflowers, including milkweed, the Monarch butterfly host plant. Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. Twelve Native Milkweeds for Monarchs (blog) Fact Sheet about Milkweed. The first thing to consider is where you live. It all started with an accidental visit to a City of Santa Monica building near Santa Monica airport. As Monarch Watch announced its Bring Back the Monarchs milkweed restoration campaign last week, questions have appeared in our emailbox regarding which species are best for San Antonio and Austin yards, ranches, or even a vacant lots that beg for a butterfly garden. A monarch chrysalis hangs from the leaf of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. I'm happily married to Stacy and together we are raising James, who is medically fragile. Perhaps most famously, milkweed species serve as the host plant for the monarch butterfly. spp. A native plant is one that has occurred naturally in a particular region without human introduction. The scientific name of milkweed is Asclepias. This information will help growers produce the best plants possible for Monarchs. For example, Asclepias syriaca is a specific species of milkweed. Planting Time: Milkweed plants can be planted in spring or fall. But the 450 milkweed seedlings don't know about the pandemic. According to Rick Hellmich, an entomologist with the ARS Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit in Ames, Iowa, milkweed plants, primarily from the genus Asclepias, are the only food source of the monarch’s distinctively striped larvae (caterpillars). 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. There may be many factors that have caused the Monarch population to decline so significantly, but if there is one thing that we can do to keep them from going extinct, it is to plant milkweed. Their research supports a broader national effort to reverse this iconic insect’s declining numbers through milkweed habitat restoration projects. 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). In addition to determining which milkweed species averaged the greatest number of eggs deposited by female monarchs, the researchers calculated the survival rates of caterpillars that hatched from the eggs and pupated. 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 . Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa. 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. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are considered the … Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Swamp milkweed and the next few listed below are known to … ), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. Native Narrow-leaved Milkweed is perfectly suitable to most of our gardens, as long as you understand its growth cycle and know what to … If you want to help increase the Monarch population, milkweed is the first plant you should consider adding to your garden. I'm Jeff Fulkerson. IMPORTANT NOTE: The species of milkweed we offer is Asclepias syriaca. Ideally, you should choose … 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. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. 2. Milkweed Native to Eastern U.S. Milkweed Native to the Great Plains. They arrive at their summer breeding grounds—the Midwest—in late spring and increase their population size over two to three generations before returning to Mexico. 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