Growing Organic Kale is Easy, Even for Beginners! Nonetheless, if butterflies encounter flowering tropical milkweed they tend arrest, mature their reproductive organs over a week, lay eggs, and become sedentary… all of which disrupts the southern migration. The red and yellow blooms of tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, are ubiquitous in North Florida butterfly gardens. I've found these plants to be pretty tough and low-maintenance, and adaptable to sandy or light clay soils. As our winters have become increasingly warmer in North Florida, we are noticing the invasive potential of tropical milkweed is growing. Whatever the reason it began migrating, the result was leaving the tropical milkweed behind in Mexico and the elimination of most infected monarchs during the return migration. Unfortunately our growers are still working hard to build supplies of stock to meet demand. On the North side of the Rio Grande tropical is designated non native and grows year around in areas where it doesn’t freeze. This tropical milkweed has red-orange flowers with a yellow center, and glossy-green leaves. Asclepias tuberosa – Jury is still out, I’m still researching this one. Agreed certainly for the southern states. Agreed, thank you. No really, stop and consider, why? Because tropical milkweed historically Keep in mind, many predators have adapted to the poisonous chemicals in milkweed, so it doesn’t keep them as safe as many people think….this is all milkweed both native and non-native. In the southern USA, I strongly recommend cutting back the tropical milkweed in September such that when the southern migrating butterflies are flying through, there are no flowers or foliage for them to lay on. I also just read the #s they posted way back in March, Volunteers recently planted the garden, called Camp Monarch, with six kinds of native and tropical milkweeds, including: aquatic milkweed ( Linda … A carnivorous caterpillar in our backyard, Q&A about tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). I haven’t read of any gringos venturing down into Mexico and doing research into how many eggs and cats they find on the tropical all winter long south of the river or any Mexicans researching it either. Monarchs evolved with OE and are able to prosper while still carrying some of the parasite, but high OE levels in adult monarchs can cause them to fail to emerge from their pupal stage because they are too weak and unable to fully expand their wings. The following generations of monarch caterpillars that feed on those plants can be exposed to dangerous levels of OE. My fear is that our attempts to “help” the monarch butterfly are going to doom it. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). It has all the attributes needed to become an invasive species. Maybe later. They grow best in full sun with moist to wet soils, rich in organic matter. With this mounting evidence of the detrimental effects of tropical milkweed, we have decided to only sell native species of milkweed. Find it, native, somewhere in the 250 miles of near desert thorn scrub between San Antonio and Monterrey. See post from Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation.) I have been finding more and more people seem to think that the OE parasite is actually infecting the Tropical milkweed when in fact it is just covered with the spores. If you have a disability and are having trouble accessing information on this website or need materials in an alternate format, contact web-accessibility@cornell.edu for assistance. If everyone in the South does this then not only adults but the children here would never get to experience seeing Monarch eggs, catepillars, & would not see many if any monarch butterflies, not to mention they would never experience raising them either! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I have added a note above! In your book you talk about this milkweed as high in cardenolides and preferred by monarchs infected with OE. This tropical species, native to Mexico, is very easy to propagate. Because tropical milkweed historically occurred It is unclear how often this happens, but it has been documented. This replaces native plants and disrupts native ecosystems. This free-flowering native milkweed usually only grows 12-24inches tall, continually sending up stalks topped with white blooms that often have a pink blush. Announcing! Three different milkweed species are for sale. Nonetheless, I always do get concerned when people promote planting lots of it to help the butterflies. One of the most common and noticeable native milkweed species, the clusters of bright orange blooms are often seen on roadsides and grow as far north as Canada. Unlike the estimated 100 milkweed species native to North America that senesce during late summer and fall, tropical milkweed remains in leaf and flowers year-round in mild climates [10,26,28,29]. Yes you can let them starve. Though supplies are limited of native species, we have decided it is better to be without milkweed at some points than to sell a tropical milkweed plant. The wind can carry the seeds far and wide. Tropical milkweed can also interfere with monarch migration and reproduction. My 6 yr old is about to release a male & female within the next day or 2. 767 miles from San Antonio as the crow flies (per Google measure distance). Noted for its very long blooming season, Asclepias curassavica (Tropical Milkweed) is an upright evergreen sub-shrub boasting eye-catching clusters of orange-red flowers adorned with yellow hoods from early summer to fall. It has pale, greenish-yellow flowers, tinged maroon that bloom March to October. Whenever humans get involved, thinking they are helping, the opposite is almost always true. Native to Central America and Mexico, Tropical milkweed grows well and sometimes year round in Texas and Florida. Technically not native to the United States, tropical milkweed is widely popular in butterfly gardens. I am a retired physician, neurologist and recent master gardener. The only reason tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is not a US native is simply because line that divides the US and Mexico was drawn on maps a few hundred miles north of tropical milkweed’s native range. Tropical milkweed has been an invasive species in Central and South Florida for a while now. Florida has 21 species of native Asclepias, but many are difficult and slow to grow and only a few are well suited for home gardeners. They are not native to the northern regions including the territories. All of our plants are in pots and 6 of our larger plants were ours from last year, always in pots, 4 were cut back. Cultivars to Try. See the list below of Canadian species and their preferred habitats. Because the tropical milkweed is very attractive in general, and in gardens it tends to flower as long as it’s warm enough and watered, the tropical milkweed is often available as an egg laying plant in seasons with other milkweeds are not available. It grows 4-6ft tall, providing the most amount of caterpillar food (of the native milkweeds) for monarch and queen butterflies. Furthermore, you are seriously disrupting the natural ecosystem. This was really great research by Jaap de Roode’s lab at Emory University. Best Milkweed Plants for Your Region. The other point you bring up is mostly unrelated to the medicinal aspects above. The context of this work was comparing uninfected or infected female butterflies, and their relative choice of the tropical milkweed over some other species. Biosphere Consulting & Nursery. Monarch caterpillars are tolerant of these chemicals⁠—in fact, cardenolides are the very compound that protects the monarch from predation. Hours: Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. • Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.Open Sundays (Thanksgiving thru Christmas only): 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Christmas Eve Day: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.Closed Dec. 25th, 26th & Jan. 1st, Why We No Longer Carry Non-Native Tropical Milkweed, Firefly conservation starts at home — in our yards and in our parks. We take the eggs in immediately, we have left some of her litters out bc I was worried about running out of milkweed. Florida native milkweed seeds for sale. But it’s not just the invasive quality of the plant that is damaging. Most species are tropical or arid land species. Warmer winters also mean tropical milkweed is less likely to be killed by frost and more likely to accumulate OE on its leaves. If the US/Mexico borders had been further south, tropical milkweed would be a US native. Our plants are North Florida eco-types, so they are well adapted to our hot and humid climate and our soils. I wish we coild have splurged on tags so my kids & I could have tracked the ones we raised & released. Tropical milkweed has been an invasive species in Central and South Florida for a while now. You’re proving my point. If you really think it is important to do the cutting back and bringing indoors, who do you think is going to that for escaped plants? Majewska AA(1)(2)(3), Altizer S(4)(5). Per the Xerces Society, its furthest northern range is in Mexico. Thanks, I agree, not to mention it just grows wild here in and close to the marshes. I posted the question to DPLEX: Do A. curassavica seeds left outside germinate in your area? Many species across the animal kingdom have evolved with their own particular parasites – humans included. It is unclear whether this is also a problem with tropical milkweed planted in the northeastern USA and Canada, in September, for example, when the southern migration is just beginning. For this reason, tropical milkweed provides Description: Also known as Spider Milkweed, this perennial is clump-forming with stems that are densely covered with minute hairs.As the green seed pods grow, they curve to resemble antelope horns. Monarch population size over winter 2019-2020 announced by WWF Mexico: not great news! We have had a few monarchs lay approximately 200 eggs on our plants. I think that you neglected to answer the fundamental question posed by Sandra, and that is this “I planted tropical milkweed Asclepias curassavica and have been told it is terrible to do that because of the parasite OE being perpetuated within the plant.” I am upset that Anurag states, “In the southern USA, I strongly recommend cutting back the tropical milkweed in September such that when the southern migrating butterflies are flying through, there are no flowers or foliage for them to lay on.” The flowers are rosy red and white, and form several flat clusters at the top of the plant. We have also raised 2 Black Eastern Swallowtail Butterflies and released them well over a month ago. Northeast/Midwest: common ( Asclepias syriaca ); swamp ( A. incarnata ); butterfly weed ( A. tuberosa ); whorled ( A. verticillata ); poke ( A. exaltata ). It prefers full to part sun and average to dry soils - it can be quite drought tolerant once it has an established root system. as it does NOT die back in fall. –Sandra. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) By David Taylor. I have been planting many types of milkweed and observing for several years. Some sources claim the Caribbean, some South and Central America into southern Mexico, and some include south Florida. James A. Perkins Professor of Environmental Studies, Anurag Agrawal, James A. Perkins Professor of Environmental Studies, http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/agrawal/2018/04/16/monarchs-milkweed-in-mexico-part-iv/. I live in New England so my Asclepias curassavica dies to the ground outside and I take the stems indoors in a pot where it usually rises again in the spring. Background: North American monarchs (Danaus plexippus) are well-known for their long-distance migrations; however, some monarchs within the migratory range have adopted a resident lifestyle and breed year-round at sites where tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is planted in the southern coastal United States. They may need to consider that they are migrating later and run number more in July and August. Could it have been to escape the buildup of parasites like OE on Tropical Milkweed? Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) grows from 1-4’ (30-120 cm) in height, and prefers moist conditions with full sun, such as stream edges and swamps, or a rain garden.See USDA range map. “The estimates of the monarch butterfly overwintering population were announced today (March. In the north, simply bringing them in at the end of the season is probably just fine. This area is devoid of native milkweed and is incapable of supporting growth of tropical milkweed due to a lack of necessary moisture, with a couple exceptions. Scientists worry that it might be confusing Monarchs, making them skip their migration and reproduce locally. The answer was a resounding YES from South Texas to Minnesota to Connecticut. So glad you enjoyed the book! On the South side of the Rio Grande, a couple hundred yards away, it’s designated native and grows in the lowlands where it doesn’t freeze year around all the way to the overwintering sites and beyond throughout the country. It’s not native to the U.S. but is grown in a wide range, does not seem invasive, and attracts Monarchs. We will continue to work with our growers to provide an increasing variety of native species, but we have found the following species to be the easiest and fastest growing to provide leaf matter for caterpillars: A pink-blooming native milkweed that gets big! So, in effect, keeping the Monarch Caterpillars from starving is leading fo other animals starving. Milkweed comes in a variety of heights and shades of pink, red, orange, purple, white, and yellow. Insects on Plants, Chemical Ecology, and Coevolution, Website of the Phytophagy Lab at Cornell University, led by Anurag Agrawal, James A. Perkins Professor of Environmental Studies. Add to this the prevailing winds and you have a very effective blockade keeping tropical milkweed in its native range* well south of the US. They grow best in full sun with moist to wet soils - even growing directly in water! Safe Solutions - Act now to avoid a grasshopper infestation this year! Basically once you get a bit south of San Antonio, you enter dry, near desert, scrub-lands on both sides of the border for about 250 miles to Monterrey, Mexico and about 650 miles to Mexico City. There is evidence that suggests the chemical composition of tropical milkweed may trigger this disruption of the innate migration cycle of the monarchs that interact with it – they are fooled into thinking they are in the safe wintering grounds of Mexico. Butterflyweed in N. FL tends to be lower growing than it's northern relatives - only 1-2ft tall. on the plant. The tropical milkweed has been found to be “medicinal” in terms of improving parasite resistance to OE, and as you know, butterflies that are infected tend to prefer the tropical milkweed even more than usual, suggesting that they are medicating their offspring. I went out today to one of our milkweed plants to grab some leaves to bring into the itty bitty babies and we found 2 baby cats on one plant. I also read that in warm climates because it does not die, this milkweed confuses the monarchs preparing for migration. It’s over 300 miles to the overwintering sites from the Rio Grande. I will have to check my books on our 1st liter of cats to be exact. But unlike our native milkweed species, the lush green foliage of tropical milkweed will stay up all winter if not killed back by frost – and that is a problem. In northern areas it grows later in the season than native species, and just the presence of tropical milkweed may confuse monarchs into breeding at a time when they should be migrating. Those caterpillars will grow into butterflies infected with an increased load of OE. The most recent article about the monarch butterfly in the New York Times has once again raised the question of whether we should be planting non-native milkweed. I thoroughly enjoy your book.It is both authoritative and readable. My concern is based upon 20 years growing it in Austin (before I realized the issues), observing its growth around Texas, and asking lots of questions about others experiences (on DPLEX). Our 1st 2 liters have grown and flown to migrate. This replaces native plants and disrupts native ecosystems. It’s also very showy, blooming prolifically all season and regrowing quickly after being decimated by hungry caterpillars. Some sources claim the Caribbean, some South and Central America into southern Mexico, and some include south Florida. The leaves provide substantial larval food for monarch and queen butterflies, and the constant flowers attract lots of adult butterflies as well as many other pollinators. See more ideas about milkweed, asclepias, plants. 13th 2020) by WWF Mexico: unfortunately, they are about half the density of last year.” Native to Mexico, this tropical species is very easy to propagate. I too grow some tropical milkweed just because it is easy and a beautiful plant. In addition to the concerns over OE and disruption of migration behavior, emerging research suggests that tropical milkweed may actually become toxic to monarch caterpillars when the plants are exposed to the warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Biosphere Consulting Your email address will not be published. Author information: (1)Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. . She has 6 in chrysalis right now, 6 about to enter the chrysalis stage, 10 in the next litter, and 8 behind that one, we have not even checked or looked for eggs ib close to 3 weeks. Whereas tropical milkweed, remaining evergreen throughout the winter, allows OE levels to accumulate on the plant. They usually bloom in spring, and then will often rebloom later in the summer. Exposure to Non-Native Tropical Milkweed Promotes Reproductive Development in Migratory Monarch Butterflies. Humm ! Range: Milkweeds are found in all provinces across Canada although they are not commonly found in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Note that some scientists, conservation organizations and horticulturists urge folks NOT to plant the non-native tropical milkweed, and if they do, cut it back before the migratory season. Get a handle on homegrown tomatoes in containers! Thank you and I too enjoyed your book. This non-native milkweed has exploded in … Like many plants with such a large native range, it is important to find plants that are grown from seed sources in your region - this is called an "eco-type". It is our native milkweed, usually called Narrow-leaf Milkweed or more accurately Asclepias fascicularis. Anurag wrote about Tropical milkweed in Mexico in 2016 http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/agrawal/2018/04/16/monarchs-milkweed-in-mexico-part-iv/. The red and yellow blooms of tropical milkweed are ubiquitous in North Florida butterfly gardens. *There is some disagreement about the exact native range of Tropical Milkweed. Tropical Milkweed (A. curassavica)– Native to South America, tropical milkweed can be grown as an annual in colder USDA hardiness zones. I would have guessed not. Thank you very much.I appreciate any reply you may give. The milkweed being discussed was the tropical variety most widely available in the usual stores, Asclepias curassavica, known commonly as Scarlet or Tropical milkweed. We plant three species of milkweed (the host plant for the monarchs), but both the monarchs and the honey bees gravitate toward A. curassavica, a non-native.So do syrphid flies, carpenter bees, bumble bees, leafcutter bees and assorted other insects. Why has this non-native become a staple in so many North American butterfly gardens? Your email address will not be published. This is especially true during this southern migration in the gulf States from Florida to Texas. While it may feed your caterpillars in the short term, it is harmful to the species as a whole in the long term. And like I stated in the above comment. Expect the leaves to be tattered as the season progresses (the FAVORITE Host plant for Monarch Caterpillars in my yard!!) It is one of about 115 species that occur in the Americas. Please also consider that it frequently escapes from gardens into the wild. It is root hardy north to Zone 8b which includes all of Texas south of Waco, almost all of Lousianna, half of Georgia and coastal South Carolina and even small portions of coastal North Carolina. The leaves will grow back as long as the plant has a … In other words, when northern monarchs are flying south, they are typically in reproductive diapause and not ready to lay eggs. Why Aren’t There any Birds at my Feeder? Do you know if the seeds can survive the winter (and germinate in spring)? Another exception is the north south mountain ranges west of Monterrey that are capable of supporting some milkweed species at the higher elevations. At least that has been my understanding. Required fields are marked *. I did see one plant at Cerro Pelon in Mexico. Tropical milkweed Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) has a natural range that extends as far north as Mexico, but this plant is not native to the United States or Canada. The plants regenerate leaf matter quickly during the growing season and have a short season of bloom in late summer - providing nectar-rich blooms for adult butterflies and other pollinators. We shouldn’t plant it in Southern California. Honey bees, however, do love that milkweed. Tropical milkweed, however, will continue to accumulate O.e. common milkweed This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in … But when the card… Fun with Fennel - Useful and Delicious Herb! Sep 24, 2020 - host plant for monachs. The literature on tropical milkweed is getting large, growing, and a little confusing In general, the tropical milkweed is highly desired by adult egg-laying monarchs, and larvae tend to do very well feeding on it. Please clarify this point so that others don’t get confused and start spreading the idea that Tropical milkweed is infected internally with the OE parasite. (Migrating monarchs follow these mountains on their way north and south.) on native milkweed dies off in the fall thereby killing the O.e. It grows in many of our local canyons, hillsides and mountain foothills; and fortunately, now occasionally in our gardens. I am a fellow butterfly enthusiast and have just returned from Mexico where I saw the wintering monarchs. Monarchs with even mild OE infections can appear normal (though are usually a little smaller) but they don’t live as long, cannot fly as well, and are not able to migrate successfully. Slidell, Louisians, which is less than 10 minutes drive from the New Orleans Parish line. Tropical milkweed actually has higher cardenolide levels than native milkweed, so it helps to protect monarchs. Honey bees just can't get enough of our tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica. For 2 weeks straight they laid any where between 18-45 a day. I've found them to be adaptable to quite a bit of shade and also average moisture and clay soils. Listing the Monarch Butterfly under the Endangered Species Act? No. Message to Spring Vegetable Gardeners from Donna. *There is some disagreement about the exact native range of Tropical Milkweed. BTW I live in South Louisiana. Growers are able to quickly produce plant material of this species to meet the milkweed demand. Sounds good to me. In other words, the effect is certainly real, but it may be subtle in nature, and it does not mean that the tropical milkweed is overall the best food. Maybe. Other common names for this plant include Scarlet Milkweed, Mexican Milkweed, Bloodflower, and Silkweed. It was never native across what we humans call the United States of America where it is commonly planted today. We have had monarchs laying any where between 18-45 eggs in one visit, sometimes returning multiple times a day. Tropical milkweed Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) has a natural range that extends as far north as Mexico, but this plant is not native to the United States or Canada. Under these conditions, tropical milkweed produces higher cardenolide concentrations. This is the context for which research has shown that disease levels can increase in a population, caused by local tropical milkweed populations in the southern USA. From the perspective of conservation, I simply recommend general habitat protection and of planting native species. Seems I read years ago scientists believe monarchs existed on tropical in the tropics before there was a migration.I would n’t worry to much about it blowing up John. 2. Its the only milkweed for our area and I have not had one issue with OE so far in the 3 years my children & I have been raising them. Tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias Incarnata Milkweed plants are neonicotinoid & pesticide free! In contrast, A. incarnata is a common, native milkweed species found throughout the eastern and southeastern portion of the monarch migratory range that senesces during the winter months (Ladner and Altizer 2005, Agrawal et al. Does it re-seed itself in your garden? The plant completely dies in the winter up north. Habitat: Milkweeds grow in a variety of habitats from fields and forests to wet shorelines. It continues to have leaves through the winter in coastal tropical climes such as southern California, Gulf Coast, and southern/southeastern states. We think this is because of the low amount of latex, thin and soft leaves, and appropriately high levels of cardenolide toxins that the caterpillars are sequestering for their own defense. Native: Introduced: Both: Absent/Unreported: Native, No County Data: Introduced, No County Data: Both, No County Data Common milkweed is a member of the Asclepiadaceae (milkweed) family. I had no choice to go buy a dozen plants from our nursery bc the monarchs were leaving so many babies and we could never let them starve. Tropical milkweed is attractive and easy to grow, so it tends to be the most widely available milkweed at commercial nurseries. Obviously the thin east-west ribbon of the Rio Grande river bottom-lands support a couple native milkweed. You guys better inform the Mexicans they need to go out and cut down all the Tropical milkweed throughout their entire country so the monarchs don’t break diapause and decrease the migration or maybe we just shouldn’t get all excited about it. Monarch Joint Venture recommends these regional milkweed species. ((update: As pointed out in a comment below, it is important to note that OE does not infect the plant, but rather the spores sit on the surface. You do understand Monarch Caterpillars are also food for other animals. I planted tropical milkweed Asclepias curassavica and have been told it is terrible to do that because of the parasite OE being perpetuated within the plant. That it may lessen the infection in new caterpillars.I found that fascinating. 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