Valley News – NH Calls for Donation of Milkweed Pods to Help Monarch Butterflies
Posted: 09/18/2021 21:19:19 PM
Modified: 09/18/2021 21:19:33 PM
CONCORD – People are being asked to collect the pods of the milkweed plant, the favorite food of monarch butterflies, so the state can use them to create “conservation corridors” along highways.
Milkweed is a large, broadleaf plant that serves as food for many species of pollinators and is vital to monarch butterflies. It is the only plant on which monarch butterflies lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the caterpillars feed on the milkweed.
The decline of milkweed in the United States, where it is often viewed as an unwanted plant, has contributed to an 80% reduction in the Eastern Monarch population over the past 20 years.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension are asking for donations of milkweed pods. The seeds, which will be collected statewide through October 30, will be sown with other native varieties of perennials by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to create “conservation corridors” along highways in the ‘State.
Milkweed pods should be harvested when they are dry and gray or brown in color, not when they are still green and closed.
Pods should be stored in a paper bag, labeled with their collection date and country of origin, and kept in a cool, dry place until they can be delivered to a participating collection site, including including the Fish & Game headquarters at 11 Hazen Drive in Concord.
Leave a few pods on each plant to allow natural dispersal and reseeding as well.
For more information on milkweed pod collection best practices and a list of collection locations, visit extension.unh.edu/milkweed.
New Hampshire is one of many butterfly range states to include the monarch in its state wildlife action plan as a species in greatest need of conservation.
Individuals or organizations with questions about how to participate in this new statewide initiative should contact Haley Andreozzi at [email protected] or 603-862-5327 for more information. .