The Wood River Land Trust’s

Showy Milkweed Initiative

Asclepias speciosa

Monarch butterfly populations have declined across North America up to 80%. Here’s what the Wood River Land Trust is doing to help Idaho’s state insect.

Why milkweed?

Milkweed plants are essential for monarch butterfly habitat. While adult butterflies feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers, they only breed where milkweed is found. This is because milkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly, and without it, the larva would be unable to develop into the beautiful flying insects they are meant to become.

This plant is also beneficial for various other types of pollinators and possesses the ability to be grown in disturbed areas, making it a hardy and resilient plant once established.

So why care about butterflies and pollinators?

As milkweed provides habitat for butterfly larva, this allows the chance for butterfly generational production, which is essential for almost all seed plants in our area. Because showy milkweed allows for butterfly growth, surrounding plants throughout our region are then able to be pollinated as a result.

Flowering plants also produce breathable oxygen by utilizing carbon dioxide produced by both flora and fauna. This is essential to all organisms as the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere have been steadily rising. Plants like milkweed also help purify water and prevent soil erosion through their roots, which hold sediments in place. Our water cycle depends on plants to return water to the atmosphere, and what do plants depend on? That’s right – pollinators.

What can you do?

The showy milkweed seeds provided to you by the Land Trust are critical tools in the fight against pollinator extinction. What you plant on your property plays a huge role in how we protect our Valley’s pollinators, and with your help, we can ensure that our home provides a suitable habitat for these important creatures.

If you have not yet received milkweed seeds and you would like some, or you are interested in joining us for a potential milkweed planting day, please email our Community Engagement Coordinator Matthew Steinwurtzel at

Milkweed seeds will also be available at the Home and Garden Show on May 18th and 19th – just stop by our Trout Friendly booth. And please post photos of your milkweed efforts on social media! Tag us @woodriverlandtrust and use the hashtags #protectourpollinators and #woodriverlandtrust.

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