Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why Planting Native Milkweed is Essential for Monarch Health

 Photo taken at La Plaza de Cultures y Artes Jardín, managed by Johanna Larios. 

An ode to milkweed.
"We are solid! We are strong! We give something unique to the earth. We allow the earth mother to make milk and we bring it into rhythmic flow. Etherialised, rarified, it flows through the cosmos. We make milk alchemy. We are anchored. I am a group. I am a group of beings. My "poison" is the contraction that gives birth to the soul. Then you too can flow rhythmically, strongly, live in expansion, yet anchored." 
- Barbara Schuster

Butterfly gardens have been all the rage for quite some time now. Garden nurseries have set-up there own mini ones filled with tropical pollinator plants and even the Natural History museum. 

As fascinating as it is to see the cycle of the Monarch in abundance, the tropical milkweed trend is hindering their natural migration and life cycle and introducing more disease. May we be mindful and encourage the planting of native plants for pollinators, especially milkweed. 

Tropical milkweed has orange, yellow, and reddish flowers. The tropical variety doesn't go completely dormant in the winter making the monarchs stick around and not join in on the migration to Mexico. There are other issues too with planting this variety, for example, scientists also believe that the year-round access welcomes OE spores and can spread the disease.

For those using the tropical variety for healing or educational purposes that don't want to uproot and eradicate this variety, you could simply cut back during the winter to encourage natural migration patterns. 

I look forward to supporting a local Native Plant nursery once we're ready to introduce a native milkweed to our garden again. We've had one before but it didn't produce offsprings, we'll have to re-introduce some more. Thankfully, this year our local hills have abundant populations of milkweed growing along trails thanks to some decent rainfall. 

For more information visit: Monarch Joint Venture 

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