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monarch butterfly larvae

Monarchs and Milkweed

Adult Monarch Butterfly

Adult Monarch Butterfly. Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

Monarch butterflies are distinctive, beautiful and wildly popular with butterfly gardeners.  Their host plants include species of the milkweed (Asclepias) genus.  In recent years, a disease that affects the Monarch has become more known as problematic for the health of this wonderful butterfly.  This disease, caused by a protozoan parasite (Ophryocytis elektroscirrha or OE), may be linked to the widespread use of a non-Florida native milkweed in our gardens.

Read more about monarchs and milkweed in the fact sheet here.

This blog post was written by Master Gardener Molly Griner under supervision of the Master Gardener Coordinator and Residential Horticulture Agent Anne Yasalonis.

For more information, contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041 or visit us online at  The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. Visit us in person, give us a call, or email us at

The Florida Master Gardener Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida.  The program  extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.

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3 Comments on “Monarchs and Milkweed

  1. My park in Haines City would love to have a butterfly garden area for the monarchs…..will be reserching …any sugestions would be appreciated.

  2. You can find more information at the following University of Florida Web sites:

    There is a lot of information on individual butterfly species at the following web site:

    Also some information on butterfly plants at:

    Another useful site is:

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