Milkweed for Monarchs

People can help monarch butterflies by planting milkweed, a plant the insects rely on for breeding and feeding.

"Asclepias tuberosa" in Farmington, Connecticut, by Ragesoss/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
“Asclepias tuberosa,” a species of milkweed, in Farmington, Connecticut. Photo by Ragesoss/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

On this week’s show we’re talking about the status of monarch butterflies with monarch expert Lincoln Brower, a biology professor at Sweet Briar College.

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Monitoring the Monarchs

According to Brower, the monarch population is in serious decline for several reasons, including habitat loss in the butterflies’ Mexican overwintering grounds and a decline in milkweed plant populations in the U.S. The monarchs rely on milkweed for breeding and feeding.

Brower says people can help the monarchs by planting milkweed where they live. The groups Monarch Watch and Journey North have info on how to grow the plant, and will even sell you some seeds.

Meet the Writer

About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.

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