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Old 07-10-2014, 05:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Wisconsin
butterfly Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide
Plant Ecology, Seed Production Methods, and Habitat Restoration Opportunities

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
By Brianna Borders and Eric Lee-Mader
The information in Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide is gathered from interviews with native plant nurseries and seed producers, gained firsthand through Project Milkweed, and synthesized from scientific literature. It provides conservation professionals with information about optimizing milkweed seed production methods, offers guidance on incorporating milkweeds into restoration and revegetation efforts, and highlights milkweeds’ unique characteristics and value to wildlife. Native seed producers, restoration practitioners, land managers, monarch conservationists, gardeners, and landowners will all find this guide valuable.
The Xerces Society Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

The Table of Contents:
Introduction page 1

Milkweed Biology & Ecology page 3

Species Diversity and Distribution (3)
Life Cycle (3)
Habitats (3)
Plant Morphology (4)
Pollination (6)
Chemical Ecology (8)
Potential Toxicity to Livestock (9)
Preventing Livestock Poisoning
Ethnobotanical, Industrial, and Commercial Uses (10)

The Value of Milkweeds to Wildlife page 13

Monarch Butterflies (14)
Other Butterflies and Moths (16)
Native Bees (16)
Honey Bees (17)
Beneficial Insects (17)
Vertebrate Wildlife (18)

Milkweed Propagation and Seed Production page 21

Wild Seed Collection (25)
Seed Germination (28)
Stratification; Additional Seed Treatments; Other Factors Influencing Germination
Field Establisment (31)
Table 1 - Approaches to Establishing Seed Production Fields; Drill Seeding; Transplanting,
Row Spacing and Plant Spacing
Managing Production Fields (42)
Identification and Management of Milkweed Herbivores (44)
Protecting Beneficial Insects from Pesticides; Monarch Butterflies and Other Lepidopteran
Larvae; Aphids (Aphididae); Milkweed Bugs (Lygaeidae); Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae);
Milkweed Longhorn Beetles (Cerambycidae: Tetraopes spp.); Snout and Bark Beetles (Curculionidae);
Generalist Herbivores
Plant Disease Diagnosis and Management (63)
Known Milkweed Diseases; Fungi; Bacteria; Viruses; Other Organisms; Abiotic Diseases;
Disease Management Strategies;
Seed Harvesting (70)
Hand-Harvesting; Hand Harvesting with Seed Capture Bags; Combine Harvesting; Notes on Additional Harvesting Equipment; Post-Harvest Instructions
Seed Processing (78)
Hand-Cleaning Without Tools or Equipment; Small-Scale Cleaning with Easy-to-Acquire
Tools and Equipment; Build-Your-Own Small-Scale Cleaning Equipment; Mechanized
Seed Cleaning; Mechanized Seed Cleaning with Custom Equipment; Manual Threshing
Seed Viability, Testing, and Storage (94)
Milkweed Marketing Opportunities (95)

Using Milkweeds in Habitat Restoration Plantings page 96

Sourcing Milkweed Planting Materials (98)
Case Study: Monarch-Friendly Landscaping (98)
Case Study: Pollinator Hedgerows in Agricultural Landscapes (100)
Case Study: Monarch-Friendly Roadside Management (102)
Establishing Milkweeds from Seed (106)

Conclusion page 111

Acknowledgements page 113

Appendices page 115

Appendix I: Milkweed Species Native to the United States and Canada (115)
Appendix II: Known Milkweed Pathogens (123)
Appendix III: Seed Availability, Seed Count Data, and Growth Characteristics of Several Milkweed Species (127)
Appendix IV: Region-by-region Summary of Milkweed Seed Availability, Priority
Species for Use in Habitat Restoration, and an Overview of Monarch Population Dynamics (131)

Literature Cited page 138
This 148 page document may seem a bit intimidating for casual reading but it is very well written and has a lot of very interesting information for anyone interested in native milkweeds and their role in the biodiversity of ecosystems. Here's just a few tantalizing tidbits to encourage reading it.
Native milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are perhaps best known for their role as the larval food plants of the monarch butterfly, their distinctive pods, and their wind-borne seeds. There are also many other fascinating aspects of milkweed biology, ecology, and history, with volumes of research conducted on the plants’ unique pollination process, novel chemical composition, and relationships with insect herbivores.
The future of North America’s monarch migration is now at risk. Both the protection of existing milkweed stands and the restoration of milkweed populations are key components of monarch conservation.
Excluding subspecies, there are 72 milkweed species native to the U.S. and Canada (Appendix I). Milkweeds are native to all of the lower 48 states, but do not occur in Alaska and are not native to Hawaii.
Milkweeds native to the U.S. and Canada are perennial and while a few species are evergreen (Appendix I), the majority are deciduous.
Butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa) is the only species that does not produce this characteristic milky sap (Wilbur 1976).
White, fluffy hairs—known as the pappus, coma, or floss—are attached to each seed and aid in wind dispersal. Aquatic milkweed (A. perennis) is the only native U.S. species without floss.
Many species are very deep-rooted (Woodson 1954). For example, after one year of growth, common milkweed’s taproot may already be over six feet deep (Phippen 2007) and at maturity the species’ root depth can exceed 12 feet (Evetts & Burnside 1974).
Most milkweed species are largely or entirely self-incompatible (Wyatt & Broyles 1994). To produce fruits and seeds, self-incompatible species depend on insects to transfer pollen between unrelated plants.
Each milkweed species contains multiple types of cardenolides, which vary in their chemical structure and in the way that they are metabolized by insect herbivores (Brower et al. 1982). Through laboratory analyses, cardenolide profiles (sometimes called “cardenolide fingerprints”) can be constructed for a given milkweed species and used to determine which species monarch butterflies fed on as larvae (Brower et al. 1982). Using cardenolide fingerprinting analyses, studies have indicated that the majority (85–92%) of monarchs overwintering in Mexico fed on common milkweed as caterpillars (Seiber et al. 1986; Malcolm et al. 1993). Studies such as these demonstrate that the protection of common milkweed populations is essential to sustain the eastern monarch migration.
The pdf file can be downloaded here:
The Xerces Society Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

It's a large file (7.4 MB) so if you are on a dialup internet connection expect it to take about 30 minutes to download.
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Last edited by NEWisc; 07-11-2014 at 12:07 AM. Reason: Formatting adjustment
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:14 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Lower Pioneer Valley

Just cruised through this. Has an extensive amount of information on growing milkweed, pests, pest control, planting, seed harvesting. Good to bookmark or save this for the fall to harvest and sow some seeds.
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conservation, guide, milkweeds, practitioner’s

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