It’s that time again! The annual milkweed seed pod collection is here. Milkweeds are the host plants for the monarch butterfly caterpillars and are essential for their survival. They also serve as a nectar source for monarchs and many other pollinators. The disappearance of milkweed has contributed to the 80% decline in eastern monarch butterfly populations. But, you can help! Join the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative in collecting common milkweed pods this fall. Next year, these seeds will be planted throughout Ohio to increase the milkweed available to monarchs.
Here are some tips for a successful collection season:
– Be sure you are collecting common milkweed. There are several plants, such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed, that look very similar.
– Collect the seed pods when they are dry and grey to brown in color. Collecting the pods too early will ruin the seeds.
– Once collected, place the pods in a paper (not plastic) bag and store in a cool dry place.
– Label the bag with the date and county of harvest.
Donate your collected pods! Pods can be dropped off at your local Soil and Water Conservation District and are accepted until November 1.