Monarch caterpillar feeding on common milkweed

Monarch caterpillar feeding on common milkweed © Noah Cole

When word spread this spring about the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s proposed delisting of milkweed from the Schedule of Noxious Weeds, Ontario Nature supporters sent supportive comments through the Environmental Registry, as did many other nature enthusiasts and scientists. Thankfully, the ministry listened and officially removed milkweed from the noxious weed list in May.

This is great news for monarchs, who rely on milkweed for their survival. While adult monarchs consume the nectar of various plants, they lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed, and monarch caterpillars consume nothing but milkweed.

A recently published Canadian-led study concluded that the loss of milkweed in the U.S. Midwest due to changing farming practices is the most significant factor in the monarch’s decline. Clearly, much-maligned milkweed needs a marketing makeover and an army of supporters along the monarch’s migration route.

Read more about the monarch and its guardian Don Davis in Allan Britnell’s article.