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Monarchs & Milkweed (Special Presentation)

May 7 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Milkweed and monarch

Monarch butterflies are one of nature’s most recognizable and charismatic creatures, known for their bright colors and epic annual migrations between the Canada, the United States and Mexico. But there is much more to the monarch than its bold orange beauty and powerful, graceful flights. In his book, “Monarchs and Milkweeds: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution,” Anurag Agrawal presents a vivid investigation into how the monarch has evolved closely alongside the milkweed—a toxic plant named for the sticky white substance emitted when its leaves are damaged—and how this inextricable and intimate relationship has been like an arms race over the millennia, a battle of exploitation and defense between two fascinating species.

About the Presentation

The monarch life cycle begins each spring when it deposits eggs on milkweed leaves; but this dependency of this butterfly species on milkweeds as food is not reciprocated by the poisonous plant. Agrawal delves into major scientific discoveries, including his own pioneering research, and traces how plant poisons have not only shaped monarch-milkweed interactions, but have also been culturally important for centuries. He will discuss current ideas regarding the recent decline in monarch populations and offer a novel explanation for their plummeting numbers.

The presentation will be followed by a book signing with Anurag Agrawal in the Wildflower Center Store. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

This event is free with admission.
Admission is always free for members; learn about membership.

This event is part of National Wildflower Week! Learn more and see the full schedule here. 

Anurag Agrawal is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Entomology at Cornell University. He lives in Ithaca, New York. Lavishly illustrated with more than eighty color photos and images, “Monarchs and Milkweed” takes readers on an unforgettable exploration of one of nature’s most important and sophisticated evolutionary relationships. tent goes here


May 7
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


Wildflower Center
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Austin, TX 78739 United States
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