26 September 2007

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars, Good Reason to Preserve Plant Species, Move Herbs Indoors

The Monarch Butterflies are still very busy making babies on the Asclepias. Sadly, the large caterpillar on the patch of Asclepias in the front was destroyed by spiders feeding themselves dinner. Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas has an online resource for all things Monarch.
These are in a backyard planting. In the top photo, there are two sizes of caterpillar and lots of yellow aphids on the top of the photo. Aphids and Asclepias go together but you can't spray the aphids without harming the tiny Monarch eggs and hatchings.
The bottom photo is another fairly large caterpillar. We have yet to find a chrysalis so we don't know if all the caterpillars are being eaten by birds and spiders or if they are just more shy than the Fritillary Butterflies who have their chrysalis on everything from the brick walls of the house to the lightening rod ground wires.

Monarch caterpillars eat only the leaves of plants that are members of the Milkweed plant family. Since Asclepias is native to the coastal regions, we have to plant it here. Once you have a successful planting, it will seed itself and you will see migrating Monarchs in your garden.

CBS News Online reported that 70 % of plant genes are shared by human genes and that 60-percent of the medicines used by cancer patients are from plant, soil and bacteria sources. More useful medicines come from plants than from chemical sources.

It is time to bring in herbs for the winter windowsills. Organic Gardening online provided tips: Dig up the herb, plant it in clean soil and leave it outside, under a tree for a week. The plant has to get used to the lower light conditions that will prevail in your home even in a sunny spot. Go to their link to read which herbs work best for the move indoors.

2 comments:

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