Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Pilot Projects

Milkweed Seed Production Plots

Tallgrass Prairie Center

Country
United States

Region
Midwest

Agency Type
NGO, State

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Monarchs

Original Language
English

The use of native seed in large- or small-scale restoration projects is imperative, as species develop varying traits based on the region where they originate, making them more appropriate for that geographic location. “In 2013, the Prairie Resource Center planted 2,621 acres [1,060 hectares] to native grasses and forbs, including four different species of milkweed and two important nectar sources (Liatris pycnostachya and Liatris ligulistylis).

They also partnered with the Tallgrass Prairie Center at the University of Northern Iowa to establish milkweed seed plots for Asclepias tuberosa and A. sullivantii. Seed from these plots will be utilized to enhance Prairie Resource Center and Tallgrass Prairie Center restoration projects, and will also be used by private seed producers to start local ecotype plots for the species, which will in time provide seed for other restoration efforts. This year’s harvest of the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s A. tuberosa plots yielded 8.29 bulk pounds of seed in September, which were harvested both by hand and mechanically” (MJV 2015).

Another result of this project was the assembly and publication of Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide: “a comprehensive publication that includes information on milkweed ecology, the plants’ value to monarchs, pollinators, and other beneficial insects, and detailed guidelines for milkweed seed production” (MJV 2015).

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