Managing Milkweed Crop Pests: A Native Seed Industry Guide

Author: Project Milkweed Date: 2017

Project Milkweed is a collaboration with the Xerces Society, the native seed industry, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to increase commercial availability of milkweed seed. Since 2010 this partnership has worked to address some of the major production challenges faced by the native seed industry and has expanded commercially viable milkweed production to regions where seed was not previously available.

During Project Milkweed surveys of native seed producers, yield loss from insect pests was consistently the most significant challenge reported. Further complicating the situation is the abundance of monarch butterfly caterpillars, crop pollinators, and predatory insects, all of which are typically found in seed production plots and which are vulnerable to insecticides used for pest control.

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Why Grow And Sell Native Milkweed?

Author: Monarch Joint Venture Date: unknown

Milkweed plants (family Asclepiadaceae) are the only food source for monarch butter y caterpillars. However, milkweed has severely declined in North America due to drastic changes in land use or management, like agriculture and development. Milkweed losses and other stressors are associated with declines in migratory monarch butterflies over the past 20 years [1, 6, 7]. To compensate for the loss of milkweed, gardeners across North America are helping monarchs by planting native species of milkweeds, and by keeping milkweeds safe from pesticides.

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A Guide to the Native Milkweeds of Oregon

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2012

Five species of milkweed are native to Oregon. This guide includes profiles of the four most common species, all of which are used as a larval host plant by the monarch butterfly.

Asclepias cordifolia (purple milkweed, heartleaf milkweed)
Asclepias cryptoceras ssp. davisii (Davis’ milkweed)
Asclepias fascicularis (narrow-leaved milkweed)
Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed)

A profile of each of these species includes descriptions of flowers, leaves, and seed pods, accompanied by photos and distribution maps. Supporting these profiles is a simple guide to identifying milkweeds based on their distinctive flowers and fruits.