Valle Verde Becomes Monarch Waystation

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Valle Verde Becomes Monarch Waystation
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Source: Valle Verde

Valle Verde Retirement Community’s Monarch Garden was added to the national map as a protected Monarch Waystation.


A small event was held to honor the people who established the Monarch Waystation. Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall.

Similarly, without nectar from flowers these fall migratory monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico. The need for host plants for larvae and energy sources for adults applies to all monarch and butterfly populations around the world.

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26tpi Jul 22, 2019 10:16 AM
Valle Verde Becomes Monarch Waystation

That issue with OE is real! I have seen it 1st hand. The Tropical milkweed is OK if raised from seed each season. NOT OK if continued as a green plant over winter, at least that is my understanding. The parasite stays on the old plant. Some info out there does suggest cutting back severely, and let the roots establish a new plant,....... I don't think that is a good idea. MW is so easy to grow from seed, what's the point? The only problem is remembering to get it started early enough! Running out of food is always a problem for me at some point, but I guess that's nature. Watching the process go bad is very sad, so the OE issue is a constant concern, even with new plants. It can come in "on a wing" at any time, and it does. Later in the season, it becomes more evident in failures. Still, the successes always outweigh the failures when you see one take to the air the very 1st time!

Emmenanthe Jul 22, 2019 09:15 AM
Valle Verde Becomes Monarch Waystation

Have good intentions gone awry? The photograph appears to showcase the easy-to-grow and easy-to-find tropical milkweed. Here is a excerpt from the Xerces Society blog:

"Tropical milkweed becomes a problem when planted in temperate areas where it does not die back in winter. A protozoan parasite of monarch butterflies (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha or OE for short) can travel with monarchs visiting the plants and become deposited on leaves. When caterpillars hatch and start eating the plant, they ingest the OE. High OE levels in adult monarchs have been linked to lower migration success in the eastern monarch population, as well as reductions in body mass, lifespan, mating success, and flight ability."

Many of us are aware of the shocking decline in monarch numbers in the western population. Tropical milkweed plants for sale at your local nursery may be infected with this parasite. Please ask for native milkweed at the nursery, and reject tropical milkweed if it is on offer. Nurserymen will respond if there is a demand.

26tpi Jul 22, 2019 07:34 AM
Valle Verde Becomes Monarch Waystation

Are folks in the surrounding hidden Valley neighborhood encouraged to visit? I have been involved with the effort for years. It has been an up and down experience to see the success and failures each season. This year having more make it to the Air! Showing the process to others is fun, and sometimes gets them into the "Hobby" also. It can be absolutely fascinating to witness close up if you have the time to sit a watch.
I'd like to meet some of those involved at Valle Verde to increase my backyard success! Scanning the article, I looked for the location or contact info. maybe it's an in house program only?

Eggs Ackley Jul 21, 2019 06:53 PM
Valle Verde Becomes Monarch Waystation

Seems as though the author is confusing monarch population. Monarchs in Eastern North America overwinter in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. Monarchs in Western North America overwinter in California.

mp805 Jul 21, 2019 03:46 PM
Valle Verde Becomes Monarch Waystation

This is awesome! Valle Verde doing some good stuff, didn't they recently bring in goats to eat the weeds on the hillside?

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