Download Monarch Butterflies

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Swan plants = food
• Most customers buy swan plants for food for caterpillars or they
plant them so that female Monarchs will lay eggs on them.
• Female Monarchs can smell a swan plant from 2 kilometres
• It’s important that swan plants are NOT sprayed to remove
aphids and/or caterpillars – or if they are, they are removed from
• People who buy swan plants that have been sprayed can be
very upset when caterpillars start to die – and this is very bad for
customer relations.
Monarch metamorphosis or life cycle
Male and female Monarch
• Males have a black spot (or scent pouch) on each hindwing
• The veins on the wings of a female are broader than a male’s
Interesting immigrants!
Monarchs come from North America and ‘flew/blew’ here in the 1840s
The swan plant comes from Africa – and probably arrived here as a
‘stowaway’ in lifesavers, pillows etc. The silk is used by native Africans
as a filler for soft furnishings… which may well have been dumped here
when they outlived their useful life.
Swan plant is poisonous
• Temporary blindness
• Skin allergies
• Be careful!
• Bitter taste
• Birds learn not to eat them
except for the shining cuckoo
More detailed information on
Tips to tell customers
• Observe, don’t touch
• Chemicals can harm! These also include fly spray, sun screen,
hand cream, flea collars – not ‘just pesticides’
• Plants may have different levels of toxicity : soil structure, type of
milkweed, humidity etc… This can also affect caterpillars.
• Let caterpillars transfer themselves by putting the new plant next
to the plant which is devoid of leaves.