Posts tagged ‘Asclepias’

July 3, 2013

Dog strangling vine Threatening Native Species and The Monarch Butterfly

The dog strangling vine is a destructive invasive alien plant that is threatening to strangle out native species in North America. Even the name sounds so horrific I want to just call it the strangling vine for short.

This strangling vine Cynanchum rossicum is from the milkweed family, but it is a different Genus than the native North American milkweed that the monarch butterfly lays their eggs on.

Flower They not only strangle out milkweed, the vine tricks the monarch into laying eggs on it, probably because it is from the same family. The eggs do not mature, which endangers the monarch butterfly population numbers. The loss of milkweed due to pesticide use and loss of habitat is having devastating consequences on the monarch butterfly population.


This plant is tough to take out too, you need to remove all the roots or it will grow back.

I have removed all of these invasive vines from my garden. I pull them every year because I didn’t like they way they strangled everything, and now I know what a true danger they are I will pull them even earlier.


I am growing a small patch of milkweed in my garden for the Monarchs and it surprises me how many people say to me why don’t I pull ‘those weeds.’

Between people pulling native milkweed or putting pesticides on them, destroying natural habitat and now invasive aliens competing, it is no wonder why the monarch butterfly population is in decline.

If you see this plant in your garden or anywhere else please remove it. As a caution wear gloves and long sleeves when removing it, it may cause a rash or wound.

Thank you for helping the Monarch butterfly and our native plant species.


July 2, 2013

Milkweed is Important Monarch Butterfly Food


Milkweed is not a weed, it is important butterfly food. The Monarch butterfly population decline is directly related to environmental degradation, destruction of their habitat and the use of pesticides from Monsanto. The use of glyphosate developed by Monsanto in the U.S. for products like Round-up, which is the number one selling herbicide in America, are a threat to important pollinators and plants.

Read the full story here-

Monarch butterflies cannot complete their life cycle without the milkweed family. These plants are important because it is the only food source of the monarch butterfly larvae.
The female lays her eggs on the plant and the young caterpillar eats it as food. Then it turns into a butterfly to then feast on the milkweeds nectar. Eating the milkweed as its only food source, it absorbs the acidic bitter constituents from the plant and that is what deters predators from eating it.

Common milkweed has the Latin name Asclepias syriaca and is the most common milkweed, although it is not invasive, it grows in colonies like goldenrod. Milkweeds are becoming less common in some areas in North America, and that’s the reason for the declining monarch population.


Maybe it is considered a weed because of the name, but it is very pleasant smelling and the flowers are very beautiful. It blooms June to August in umbrella like clusters, with up curved horn purple petals below a crown of hoods. It releases silky parachute seeds from pods after it flowers.

It is native to North America, even though the Latin species syriaca name of the common variety suggests it is from Syria. It is common there and in Southern Europe, but it was actually brought there from North America. It is native from Quebec to Saskatchewan south into The United States.

The common name Milkweed is named so because it has a thick milky white sap that has bitter chemicals that protect it from predators. The sap and root are potentially toxic, having cardioactive compounds that influence the heart, so avoid internal use of fresh sap.

There are other Asclepias species of milkweed- butterfly weed milkweed, swamp milkweed, poke milkweed and all are important nectaring and nesting sites for the monarch butterfly. It is important to build butterfly friendly areas for monarch butterflies and other important pollinators on their flight path, and stop the use of pesticides and insecticides from Monsanto to ensure a rebound in population numbers.



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