Thursday, July 5, 2012

Monarchs and Milkweed

 Indian Paintbrush


Hubby and I volunteer with the Edmonton Naturalization Group where he gets to weed and as I cannot, I get to spend my time taking photos of the beautiful Native Alberta plants which has inspired me to complete five small paintings. (to view the other three click on sandhill crane image in the sidebar)

The fascinating most enjoyable happenings is not only learning about native species but also learning about those who depend on Native plants. I learned that Monarch Butterflies lay eggs on Low Milkweed. Are they not absolutely beautiful!
 Monarch Butterfly caterpillars doing what they must, which is eating the leaves of Low Milkweed plants. Did you know that Milkweed is the only food source for the caterpillars?
 The blossoms of the Low Milkweed are beautiful as well. The plant contains a poison that transfers to the larvae and hence to the butterfly so that birds who get a mouthful of the pretty yellow and black caterpillars get a distasteful surprise and quickly learn to avoid them.
We transplanted a couple Low Milkweed into our Native Garden and Gerald found a caterpillar on one plant that did not take so he rescued it and placed it on another plant and lo-behold the plant is now sporting holes, yahoo. Who ever thought one would be excited that their plants are being eaten by bugs. I sure hope our lone caterpillar survives and is able to make the transformation to Monarch butterfly.
Out at the Naturalization garden a few weeks back Monarchs fluttered about but they were too fast for me to capture. I was informed the Low Milkweed was planted three years ago and this is the first year they have had Monarchs there, and the bonus is there are about seventy feasting caterpillars, oh joy. I hope to go photograph the larvae again on friday if its sunny. May you all have a wonderful week and take time to think about what your local native species depend on to survive.


Red said...

Everything is connected and you showed that in this post. What bugs me is that nobody talks about the micro life which are important to all systems.

nancy neva gagliano said...

love your love of nature...glorious.