Planting Milkweed in Oregon for Monarchs

For the first time I saw a monarch at my farm in McMinnville this past summer. And I either saw it on five separate days or I saw up to five of them. And while it is one of the most familiar North American butterflies, and is considered an important pollinator, it is a rare sight indeed for the North Willamette Valley.

The Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus is famous for its annual migrations, from eastern North America to the mountains of central Mexico, and from western North America including Oregon to the coast of California. When they reach their destination they rest for the cool winter months in large aggregations containing millions of individuals. Monarch larvae feed on milkweeds of the family Asclepiadaceae, from which they sequester glycosides that make them unpalatable to birds and other predators.

Estimates are that the monarch population has declined by 90% in the last 25 years due to habitat loss. That is why in June 2015, President Obama Continue reading “Planting Milkweed in Oregon for Monarchs”