The Monarch Monitoring Project is a long-term study on monarch migration through Cape May, NJ. It is a part of the New Jersey Audubon Research Department, and closely affiliated with the Cape May Bird Observatory.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Got Milkweed? Get Monarchs.

Common Milkweed: Look for it in your neighborhood!
    While there is a lull in migration, I'd like to take the opportunity to remind everyone just how important milkweed is to our lovely black and orange friends.  Monarchs (named for English king William of Orange by early European settlers) are called milkweed butterflies because their larvae will only feed on milkweed itself and other members of Asclepias. Milkweeds lend their chemical defenses to the larvae which voraciously feed upon these plants.  Cardiac glycosides are conferred to monarch larvae, guaranteeing that both larvae and adults will remain unpalatable to vertebrate predators throughout their lifespans.  Asclepias flowers also provide nectar for adult Monarchs making this plant integral to the entire life cycle. 
      If you have milkweed growing on your property I beg you to let it grow.  If you don't want your entire yard to become one glorious milkweed stand, plant tropical milkweed in your yard! It's the equivalent of chocolate cake to Monarchs and will die back each year like many annuals we plant in our gardens.  So please please protect the milkweed in your yard, down the street, and in local fields because if you've  got milkweed, the Monarchs can't be far behind.
Tropical Milkweed! Monarchs LOVE it!
    In the meantime, if you have any Monarch questions don't hesitate to contact us here in Cape May via email at  

That's all for now! Thanks for reading and be sure to visit for more updates! 
Happy Butterflying and Birding! 
2011 MMP Intern

Still looking for more Monarch fun? Check This Out!

1 comment:

  1. Tori,
    I wish you and others who are in a position to educate would promote the native milkweeds rather than non-native milkweeds. Many naturalists forget that native plants are very important to the biodiversity of our region.

    Tropical milkweed 'does not' always die back in the winter. I stopped planting tropical milkweed several years ago and I have had it come back almost every year! I live in a coastal town in south Jersey, much like Cape May.

    If you want to encourage others to plant milkweeds, they can plant common milkweed in large pots. They can also plant swamp milkweed and butterfly weed, two 'native' plants that can often be found in garden centers. I also grow Asclepias exaltata (Poke milkweed) and A. verticillata (Whorled milkweed)--2 other native milkweeds.

    Just my honest, naturalist opinion.

    By the way, I am enjoying your blog postings. Keep up the good work!