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Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, and milkweed

  • September 24, 2022
  • Many of us know about the unique relationship between monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and milkweed. The milkweed is the larval host plant for the caterpillar stage. Many Marin gardeners have planted Asclepias speciosa or Asclepias fascicularis to support Monarch butterfly populations.

    Another example of a plant host-butterfly caterpillar relationship is between the California pipevine plant (Aristolochia californica) and the pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor hirsute).

    California pipevine can be grown in Marin gardens. Perhaps you'll see the beautiful black and blue butterfly.

    A third example of a dedicated relationship between a host plant and butterfly is the silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons var. collinus) and the rare mission blue butterfly (Icaricia icariodes missionensis). You can see the lupine growing in the Marin Headlands.

    All these plants are available in nurseries and can be grown in Marin gardens.

  • Katie Martin