Posted by & filed under Design Center, Landscape.

Did you know that every year, millions of Monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles from North America to the mountains of Mexico to stay for the winter?

Butterfly on Aster

Recently, our office manager Laura and her husband Liam, along with five others, traveled to Mexico City and from there up into the mountains of Mexico to visit the Monarch sanctuaries.  At this particular sanctuary, El Rosario, the view of monarchs was so spectacular that some in the group were moved to tears.

butterfly sanctuary in MexicoThe monarchs form cluster upon cluster on the branches of Oyamel fir trees by night.

clusters of butterfliesAs the temperatures rise in the morning, the monarchs take flight for the day traveling the mountains in search of nectar plants and water.

monarchs in mexicoHere is a picture of Laura releasing a tagged butterfly.

Monarchs begin their long migration south in the late summer.  They travel all the way to Mexico to stay for the winter and then come early spring, they begin to head back north. They migrate so that they can have better access to the milkweed plant, which is necessary for their food and their young.  Asclepias Tuberosa, common name Butterfly Weed, is a beautiful member of the milkweed family.  We have some growing in our display at Main Street.

Butterfly weed

Come next summer, monarch butterflies will be laying their eggs on the underside of the leaves of the Asclepias plants in our display.  And, so the cycle begins again.

2 Responses to “Flight of the Monarch”

  1. Karen Olson Weaver

    Is it really one individual that makes the thousand mile trip? or generations? Did you know that praying mantis will kill butterflies. I introduced PM to my garden, and found 6 pair of wings under my fall asters. 🙁


    Thank you for your comment Karen! Yes, each individual monarch makes the entire trip to Mexico. And, yes, praying mantises kill many creatures.


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