Milkweed Rules

Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus on our front porch rail

Years ago, on the afternoon of my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, I asked her how it went. “Not good,” she said. “There are too many rules.”

“Rules are ok,” l said. “We have rules.”

“No we don’t.”

“Sure we do,” I paused, trying to think of one. “Don’t hurt others… that’s a rule.”

“Well, their rules are different,” she said. “Like, stay in your seat. Don’t talk. Don’t hug your friends.”

“Oh… well, some rules are different depending on where you are,” I replied.

In our yard, we have two strict rules about milkweed:

1. Mow around it.

2. If it pops up in a flower bed, let it grow.

This is why:

Monarch caterpillar Danaus plexippus eating milkweed
Monarch caterpillar Danaus plexippus preparing to pupate
Monarch pupa Danaus plexippus
Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus drying wings after emerging from chrysalis
This year we have watched group, after group of caterpillars grow, pupate, emerge, then lay more eggs. Today, as I watch a female laying eggs, I hope there will be enough milkweed left for her caterpillars to eat.
Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus laying eggs on our straggly milkweed that has sustained many caterpillars this summer

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