Sunday, December 14, 2014

Are Monarch butterflies threatened?

This past week there was an excellent article in the Miami Herald, written by Kenneth Setzer from Fairchild Tropical Garden.  The article looks at the real dangers facing monarch butterflies, and how the loss of habitat, climate change, pesticide and the loss of host plants is affecting the current population.  One statistic that stands out for me, of all the monarchs that overwinter in central Mexico today, the numbers represent only 10 percent of the average population size over the past 20 years.
 There are two types of monarchs, those that migrate from North America to Mexico and those that stay year around mostly in South Florida and Texas.  We are lucky, we get to see these beautiful creatures year-round.
I plant milkweed (the monarch’s favorite plant) throughout the garden.  The writer tells us that Tropical milkweed (not a native), the one we buy in our local garden centers, may be hurting our butterflies.  It has been found that the multi-generational feeding from the same plants is allowing a parasite that hurts the butterfly to accumulate at abnormal levels.  The author recommends that we should eventually replace the tropical milkweed with native milkweed.  For more information on what you can do to help the monarchs, visit the Xerces Society web site at


This weekend I trimmed the yellow cassia tree.  This tree is one of my favorite trees, but I find that it might not be a good fit for my small garden.

 Lunch time, a salad from the garden.

This Christmas cactus was a gift from a neighbor.

1 comment:

Susan said...

It's very sad to hear about the monarchs, and very difficult to find native milkweed. I have lots of the tropical kind and they tell us to cut ours back in winter so that the monarchs will move further south. Your yard is looking as lovely as ever.