Native milkweed populations are dwindling nationwide due to habitat degradation, herbicide use and drought. Milkweeds are critical to the survival of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and many other animals. Texas milkweeds, in particular, are essential, because monarchs must lay their eggs on Texas milkweeds as they migrate north through Texas in the spring.
The Wildflower Center’s Project Milkweed increased the abundance of native milkweeds by collecting and distributing seeds of native Texas milkweeds to local growers so they can grow and promote local milkweed availability.
Project Accomplishments Include:
- Collecting seeds of locally adapted ecotypes of milkweed (Asclepias spp.) within the Texas/Oklahoma monarch migration corridor
- Growing milkweeds and developing growing protocols and best practices for seedling propagation and distribution
- Safeguarding seeds of local ecotypes in national and Wildflower Center seed banks
- Training citizen scientists to collect seed, grow plants and increase milkweed populations in their communities