2 Butter˜y milkweed Asclepias tuberosa Orange/yellow 2 L Monarch caterpillar host plant. Much like the Tall Timbers plots started by Herbert Stoddard decades ago, they illustrate what a pine forest looks like when it is burned every year, two years, three years, or not at all. Here, I found monarchs on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), a species not found in Florida. Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) Monarch caterpillars are tolerant of these chemicals⁠—in fact, cardenolides are the very compound that protects the monarch from predation. The Florida Milkweed Project intends to: Collect and distribute native ecotype seed for use by industry professionals and gardeners. In collaboration with the native seed industry, the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Program, and community partners, Xerces is producing new sources of milkweed seed in areas of the monarch’s breeding range where seed has not been reliably available: California, the Great Basin, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida. Use our guides to identify regionally native milkweeds appropriate for growing in your area. The WFSU Ecology Blog has won its fourth Regional Edward R. Murrow Award in three years. “That is a sprout of Asclepias humistrata.”  The common name for this plant is sandhills milkweed, which is found in upland pine environments. Not only is it attractive, it's an important nectar source for bees and other insects. They’re also more toxic, which is good for the milkweed tolerant monarch but less so for an animal trying to eat it or the plant. That this plant was in full bloom at this time of year is important: it’s the reason Scott Davis calls this “probably the most important milkweed in the southeastern United States for monarch butterflies, because it emerges around that time of the year, in May, when the monarchs are beginning to return to this region.”. Establishing milkweed from seed is a very particular process. The monarchs that came to Refuge could only have found these milkweed plants at this time of year, and they had everything the butterflies needed for their larvae. That’s why, over two months last year, he drove over 7,000 miles to help fulfill this mission. When milkweed flowers stay on a plant for so long, they’re more likely to develop a protozoan called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, or OE. He’s talking about the ecological importance of the plant: as the only native species that doesn’t lose its leaves in the winter, it’s the plant monarchs seek when they get here earlier in the year. But the aquatic milkweed and the pink swamp milkweed, both of those can tolerate moist to very wet conditions.”. This is the right plant for the right time and place. By planting native plants, you are helping Florida’s ecosystem thrive and ensuring the health of monarch butterflies. And on the Backyard Blog, we show how it can be used to identify weeds and garden insects, to help figure out what’s beneficial or a possible pest. Milkweed in landscapes. Within some regions, there are species only represented by about 20 individual plants. Let’s start with the packets we’ve been giving out, which include butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Native wildflowers seeds have evolved to germinate after sitting on the ground over the cold months, and activating once it gets warmer. But Scott doesn’t buy that, because native perennis plants have the same results. Agricultural intensification, development of rural lands, and the use of mowing and herbicides to control roadside vegetation have all reduced the abundance of milkweeds in the landscape. The stems and leav… Florida has twenty-one milkweed plants native to the state. This research is to encompass the entire state of Florida. Save Our Monarchs is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to saving the embattled monarch butterflies. Its common name is Florida milkweed. It’s one of five Murrow awards won by WFSU Public Media, which racked up awards for radio and video stories, as well as Best Multimedia for Small Market Radio for Hurricane Michael, One Year Later (which includes our look at Torreya State Park). Although scarlet milkweed is not on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's (FLEPPC) list of invasive species, populations are increasing throughout the state due to heavy planting and seeds being transported by the wind. Island Sand Paper - August 17, 2017. Learn more about Xerces' monarch conservation work, a cornerstone of our endangered species program. However, a scarcity of milkweed seed in many regions of the United States has limited opportunities to include the plants in regional restoration efforts. To help offset the loss of monarch breeding habitat, the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (published in 2008 by the tri-national Commission for Environmental Cooperation) recommends the planting of regionally appropriate native milkweed species. These, in turn, support a high diversity of animal life. Accessible to the local community, the garden is to enhance an area with 90% Florida native nectar and host plants. The Monarch population is divided into two populations, although they are just one species; the eastern and the western. Now in its tenth year, the Ecology Blog recently wrapped its most ambitious endeavor, the EcoCitizen Project. If anyone in this area knows milkweed, it’s Scott. Monarchs make a multi-generational migration from Mexico to southern Canada. The Project’s research will include; the testing and tagging of both wild and farmed butterflies, the documenting of wild born and farmed larvae, documenting the specie of milkweed used to raise the larvae, and documenting the location. If you have tropical milkweed, you can prevent OE by trimming the plant to six inches after Thanksgiving, and keeping it at that height until spring. Located in Miami Florida. They’re dormant now, as are most of the wildflowers that will start popping out soon. There are milkweed varieties that won’t grow easily in the yard, but that are still critical species for monarch butterflies. Milkweed is a beautiful pink and white plant that attracts even more beautiful butterflies to your home! And humistrata is ready when the migration really gets going in May. It is endemic to Florida and found only within the southern half of the state. The website also provides access to a database and images of herbarium specimens found at the University of South Florida and other herbaria. The Apalachicola Oyster in 2016 | A Long... Susan Cerulean’s New Book: I Have Been Assigned... 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