The population of the Western monarch butterfly needs a boost across the state of California, United States, and thousands of milkweed plants will provide a breeding place and a food source to save the majestic insect.
“It’s going to take time for that habit to establish,” says Cheryl Schultz, a biology professor at Washington State University who works with the River Partners project, an encouraging success story about the restoration of the monarch butterfly’s habitat. “It’s not like we can plant milkweed today and poof, you know, three months from now we have 40 functioning habits for monarchs. Different areas will take different amounts of time to come online.”
Through a $1 million state-funded initiative, some 30,000 milkweed plants – of the showy, narrow-leaf, and desert varieties – will be added statewide since the plant is the butterfly’s natural habitat. Vital for the survival of the tiny winged beast, milkweed is the main source of food for numerous insects which feed on its sap, leaves, and flowers, hence the efforts to increase its presence on the territory.