First Aid (ade) For Monarchs
By MaryAnn Fink
LIFE EXHIBIT Curator
Tropical Milkweed seems to be a sweet answer for Missouri’s Milkweed for Monarch Emergency. It is planted at Pollinator Junction primarily in the annual area in “easy to view.” We will “bee” seeing lots of pollinators including Mommy Monarchs and butterfly babies/caterpillars munching along!
Though somewhat of a controversial plant because of its non-nativity, Tropical Milkweed / Asclepia curassavica is and has been shown to be a Monarch food AND beverage choice and in some cases, even a preferred choice when Monarchs butterflies were given a choice between it and all other milkweeds!
Are Monarchs as savvy as bees in knowing if a plant is offering quality food? That is a worthy discussion for another time. Meanwhile let’s just look at this food offering with a “first aid (ade)” approach.
We need a resource that is producible in large quantities for the full duration of our growing season in Missouri if we hope to save Monarchs from this crisis situation.
Like dextrose in IV’s is an emergency situation stabilizer and not viewed as a long term sustainable practice, this plant has its place right now at least, for short term “ade” until a tremendous amount of help arrives for our dear Monarchs.
Photo credit: Tom Krauska