Milkweed Monarch Quandry

!!!!3-monarch-larvae

Donna Winter (Class of 2016) pointed at a monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) along Olso Road at the very end of the first session of the 2016 Volunteer Nature Stewardship Class. Shown above are monarch butterfly  caterpillars (larvae) feeding upon non-native tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) at the Central Florida Palm and Cycad Society meeting in Winter Haven on 12-12-2015.

The yard owner believed the milkweed to be native, but, unfortunately, this weedy exotic milkweed may be detrimental to the monarch butterfly population, according to Dr. Jaret Daniels, Associate Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, and Associate Curator and Program Director, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity.

Ever-growing populations of this weedy plant in the Deep South may disrupt monarch migration and contribute to higher populations of a lethal protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). Click here to read about an article about this issue on the Florida Wildflower Foundation website that includes native milkweed recommendations.

The caterpillars pictured above were feeding on what is sold as Silky Gold Milkweed …

!!!!asclpeias-curassavica-flower-front-view-yellow

!!!!asclepias-curassavica

It is a cultivar of the usually orange and yellow milkweed often commonly called scarlet milkweed, pictured below with a female monarch and a male julia butterfly (Dryas iulia) nectaring upon it along Oslo Road in 2008.

!!!!monarch-&-male-julia-on-milkweed

Non-native scarlet or tropical milkweed, whatever you may call it or whatever colors it may be, produces prodigious amounts of wind-borne seeds.

!!!!asclepaias-curassavica-&-seeds

If this plant is in your yard (or volunteers) in your yard, you may wish to replace it with a native milkweed.

 

1 reply »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s