Milkweed Seeds Being Collected
(Lewistown, IL) -- University of Illinois Horticulture Educator Kelly Allsup is encouraging gardeners to collect seeds from milkweeds to add this much needed plant to the landscape for Illinois Monarchs. Kelly warns that you may see butterfly enthusiasts along roadsides collecting seeds from coveted weeds and prairie plants known as the milkweeds this fall. The milkweed species in Illinois is required for Monarch caterpillars; it's the only plant species they will eat. The strategy of Monarchs is to eat milkweed, a poisonous plant, has helped Monarchs avoid being eaten by predators, but has also proved detrimental because of the continual decline of this vital plant. Once covering vast prairies of Illinois, more than 100 milkweed species must now compete with agriculture, invasive plant species and a bad reputation of being a "weed".