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Milkweed and the Monarch Butterfly

88326 views Earl Hartlen October 5, 2021 Norfolk County, ON Date shot: October 1, 2021

It's that time of year to think of the Monarch butterfly and milkweed, the only plant that monarchs can lay their eggs on because it’s the only plant their caterpillars can eat. When milkweed goes to seed, they take aloft on their own, land, work their way to the soil during the rains and there the seed will rest, and not germinate until Spring, even if there is a warm spell. However, not all seeds will germinate and we can help the Monarch Butterfly by harvesting the milkweed seed for next year. Should you pick pods and open them to discover light brown (or white!) seeds, you won’t have viable seeds for planting. The perfect time to harvest the pods is when they are just starting to pop at the sutures and the seeds are brown. However, it’s no fun to separate seeds after the pods have burst open because of the fluffy mess but it can be done. Store the dry seeds in the fridge till next spring and remember that milkweed sap can be an eye irritant, so always wash your hands thoroughly.

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