Monarch Butterfly Lavae (Danaus plexippus) on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Image from Wikimedia Commons
The larvae of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) depend on milkweed as their sole source of nutrition. Unfortunately, the recent decline in monarch populations is in part attributable to the loss of suitable habitat for monarch larvae. As humans occupy and develop more and more of the monarch’s native range, milkweed is becoming less and less common. In fact, a lot of people actively try to destroy the plant!
Because I have a special fondness for monarchs (they’re pretty much my favorite animal), I have recently planted a patch of milkweed in my yard. Here are some pictures of my milkweed:
Since I have plenty of seed pods from this year’s milkweed crop, I encourage you to consider planting some milkweed in your yard (with your parents’ permission, of course). The seeds need to over-winter before they can germinate, so they should be planted this Fall. If you’d like some seeds for your yard, just let me know.