Kings of the Eisendrath Garden

AUGUST 24, 2018

Kings of the Eisendrath Garden

Monarch butterflies hatch in front of Rebstock Hall

Greenhouse assistants Darlene Branson and Kathy Upton had some exciting results this summer after years of cultivating Asclepias (American milkweed) in the Eisendrath Garden in front of Rebstock Hall in an attempt to attract larval Monarch butterflies and aid in their conservation.

Asclepias, aka American milkweeds, are an important nectar source for native bees, wasps, and other nectar-seeking insects. Milkweeds are also the larval food source for monarch butterflies and their relatives, as well as a variety of other herbivorous insects (including numerous beetles, moths, and true bugs) specialized to feed on the plants despite their chemical defenses.

Greenhouse staff cites a number of “volunteer” Asclepias plants reseeded from previous years’ plantings by Darlene paired with Kathy’s consistent watering of those plants this summer as possible reasons for the caterpillars’ choice to make their home in Eisendrath Garden and successfully metamorphose into Monarch butterflies. -by Erin Gerrity

Pictures by Kathy Upton and Erin Gerrity