Date: 7/27/17 3:41 pm
From: Josh <opihi...>
Subject: Re: [MASSBIRD] monarch butterflies
Hi Robert,

You were not wrong. My wife’s garden is currently populated - some would say infested - with Asclepias syriaca, maybe 2 dozen plants or so, and is in its third consecutive year of producing Monarch caterpillars and, hopefully, butterflies. We’ve found chrysalises each of the past two summers, and have at least three caterpillars out there now. I have heard that the Monarch prefers A. tuberosa and A. incarnata when those host species are available, but they will take syriaca if that’s all they can find.

BTW, there is a separate e-mail list for discussion of Massachusetts butterflies. I know that MassBird chief Barbara Volkle is a big butterfly fan and probably will not object to the occasional mention of them here, but if you want to discuss the topic more frequently or in-depth, here is the home of that other list:!forum/MassLep <!forum/MassLep>

And an archive of its recent posts: <>



Joshua S. Rose, Ph.D.
Amherst, MA

> On Jul 27, 2017, at 2:38 PM, Robert Mussey <mussey.robert...> wrote:
> For the first time in years, we've had a good number of monarch butterflies this year, perhaps 8-10 so far. They are attracted to the native milkweed species we've planted, especially swap milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) which is blooming right now, and orange butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) which is just finishing blooming. They won't come near the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) we have let go wild here, and which I had always associated with monarchs, perhaps wrongly.
> Both tuberosa (dry sandy, well-drained soils) and incarnata (damp spots, or water regularly) are fairly easy to establish and will self seed to some extent, which has allowed us to increase the size of our milkweed patches.
> So, a perhaps little hope here on one front of an otherwise depressing decline.
> Robert Mussey
> near the Blue Hills, Milton

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