Milkweed And Monarch Butterflies

Discussion in 'Science & Nature' started by Ken Anderson, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Monarch butterflies are known for their annual migration from northern and central United States and southern Canada to Florida and Mexico, traveling thousands of miles, while the next generation will travel north.

    The population of Monarchs is decreasing rapidly, with some studies suggesting that they may be extinct within twenty years. You've probably heard this.

    Monarch butterfly larvae feed exclusively on milkweeds. When I was a kid, milkweed would grow along the rural roads, between the road and the tree line.

    Although it is generally believed that Monarch butterfly populations are decreasing because of insecticides and other poisons, I'm thinking that this may play a part, but the lack of a habitat may even play a larger part.

    Everywhere that I have lived in the past thirty years, road crews now keep the areas where the milkweed used to grow mowed close to the ground.

    That is the case in Michigan, where I grew up, and I am told that here in Maine as well, milkweed used to grow all along the roads but they are now mowed down before they can flower or create seed; thus they are unable to reproduce, which has led to an absence of milkweed.

    I have tried planting milkweed from seed on my land up north but it didn't survive the winter. Possibly, my land is too far north for it.

    monarch-milkweed.jpg
     
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  2. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    Interesting @Ken Anderson. I just finished telling my youngest granddaughter that this Spring we would plant a Butterfly garden in her backyard because she get's all excited when she sees one. :)

    I didn't know that Milkweed was so important to the Monarch butterfly population either or that milkweed was the only place they would lay their larvae. I always see a few Monarchs here around our home, they seemed to like the Cone flowers I would plant and the Pentas and Lantanas too. But after reading your post and doing a little research on the best flowers to attract and feed the Monarchs I'm going to have to rethink what is going to be planted in the Butterfly garden. Do you know where you can get milkweed seeds from? I think this would grow pretty easy here in Louisiana and in Texas too.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I got mine from here. As I said, mine didn't survive the winter but maybe there's something I can do to better prepare them. I think once they get through one winter, they're probably good to go. Maybe it gets too cold in northern Maine, where I planted them. I might try some along the tracks here in Millinocket.
     
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  4. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    How nice! :) Seeds and you get to contribute to save those Monarchs too! :) I'm going to get some and next year (if I haven't been raptured :)) I'll be posting pictures of the butterfly garden and all the lovely Butterflies.
     
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  5. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    WE have milkweed on our property. We leave it alone except in a few places where we don't want it.
     
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  6. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    Milkweed Thistle (not sure if the same), has in clinical tests proven very beneficial if taken internally in aiding the human liver in regenerating, or repairing itself. The liver suffers great indiscretions not only from ingested abuse, as alcohol and drugs, but also from a myriad of chemical constituents found in foods and the environment. The FDA has steadfastly refused to acknowledge this, claiming, of course, "lack of scientific evidence". However, a great number of independent researchers set remotely apart from political influence, have published conclusive evidence of positive proof. Thus, I take Milkweed Thistle extract daily.

    The active drug component implicated in liver benefit is SILYMARIN.
    Frank
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Source: Garden Guides

    Milk thistle also attracts butterflies, but I don't think that is is integral to the populations of Monarch butterflies, as is milkweed.

    milkweed.jpg
    Milkweed

    milkthistle.jpg
    Milk Thistle

    With the Milk Thistle, the flower turns into a fluffy seed, much like a dandelion, and is spread by the wind. The Milkweed has a pod that breaks open as it dries, and which contains the same kind of fluffy seed mixture that is also spread by the wind.

    milkweed-pod1.jpg
    milkweed-pod2.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016

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