The Milkweed plant has been disappearing from the landscape over the past decade – with monarch butterfly populations declining as a result.

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are many factors behind the decline of the Monarch butterfly, but the loss of Milkweed – its primary food sources and the only place where it will lay eggs – is a leading factor.

The milkweed plant

As Popular Science says, “To save monarch butterflies, we need more milkweed.”

“Populations of the insect, which once swarmed across the United States on their annual migrations from Mexico to Canada, have fallen off a cliff over the last century. California’s butterflies are on the brink of extinction, while eastern monarchs, which fly up the Great Plains or over to Maine, have declined 80 percent.”

The survival of Monarch butterflies relies on a healthy habitat, writes Philip Kiefer, “And habitat really means milkweed: Monarchs are born, raised, and nourished on the plant. Industrial agriculture has destroyed much of that milkweed through the use of herbicides like glyphosate. So conservation biologists sometimes frame monarch restoration goals in terms of individual milkweed plants.”

Planting milkweed is a one of the many ways you can help the monarch butterfly, but keeping milkweed as part of our landscape is important to more than just monarch butterflies.

One of the main reasons we offer Milkweed Floss for sale is to increase the use and utilization of the plant – more use of its products = more reasons to plant the Milkweed plant. Thus, more Milkweed for Monarchs and other pollinators. Here are some species that also rely on the Milkweed plant for food. 


    • Bumblebees (Bombus spp.)  – these are one of the few native social bees, although their colonies are much smaller than those of the non-native honeybee; and only the queen overwinters.

    • Carpenter bees – Carpenter bees resemble bumble bees, but the upper surface of their abdomen is bare and shiny black

    • Yellow-faced bees, Hylaeus sp.

    • Plasterer bees, Colletes sp.

    • Sweat or Halictid (family name) bees – these are often bright metallic colors (e.g., iridescent green)

    • Leaf-cutting bees (Family name: Megachildae) – so called because they cut pieces of leaves to use in their nests


    • White-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) – they hover while collecting nectar

    • Milkweed tiger or tussock moth (Euchaetias egle); their young also eat the leaves of milkweed plants


    • Eastern tiger swallowtail ( Pterourus glaucus)

    • Pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor

    • Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

    • Great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

    • American copper (Lycaena phloeas american)

    • Edward’s hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii)