This project started in 2015 as a seven-county pilot and last year hundreds of Ohioans worked together. Since then, volunteers have collected about 5,000 gallons of common milkweed seed pods, totaling more than 22 million seeds.
Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarch butterfly for egg-laying and caterpillar-rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs as well as many other pollinator species. The disappearance of milkweed across the U.S. has contributed to the 80-percent decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years.
Let’s make the collection efforts in 2018 even better by following these simple tips:
• Make sure that before you collect seed, you become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed
• It is best to collect the pods when they are dry, grey, or brown. It is important to check this.
• If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, it can be harvested.
• Store the pods in paper bags; plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.
• Put the date and county collected on the bag when you turn them in.
• Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver them to the nearest collection site.
• Huron SWCD, 8 Fair Road, Norwalk, Ohio 44857 is a 2018 collection site.
Collections start Saturday and goes until Oct. 30. (Pods are accepted until Nov. 1.) If you have questions regarding milkweed collection, email Marci Lininger at [email protected] or Lori Stevenson at [email protected]
For more information on milkweeds refer to this video at http://u.osu.edu/beelab/milkweed-seed.