The Monarchs are Back

We saw the first Monarch Butterfly return to the yard yesterday. She looked pretty frayed and dull in color from her long journey north. I watched her for quite a while as she flew back and forth across our prairie species looking for Milkweed (Asclepias) plants.

She deposited eggs on the underside of the milkweed leaves on many of our plants including some very tiny Butterfly Milkweed seedlings.

Monarchs are specialists because their larvae will only eat Milkweed species. They will nectar on many different flowering plants, one favorite in our yard is the Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) in early August.

We have four types of Milkweed at the moment, Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata). We recently purchased seed for the Tall Green Milkweed (Asclepias hirtella) so that will be a new addition to the yard soon.

A few years ago, we applied to have our yard registered as a Monarch Waystation because we are providing food and nectar sources for the monarch butterfly.

We will now be watching for the caterpillars to develop in the next month. For photos of a Monarch butterfly emerging from a chrysalis in our yard go to the insects page.