Oregon Milkweed ProjectJanuary 29 2015
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Name: Richard Harding
Account ID: 910074024
The Willamette Valley in Oregon is on the migration path of the Western population of the Monarch butterfly. Due to agriculture and development, native milkweeds, the only larval host plant for the butterflies, have been severely diminished in number, restricting the migration route and contributing to the butterfly's decline.
I've been propagating and giving away seed and plants of two native milkweeds (Asclepias speciosa and A. fascicularis) since 1998 in an effort to help restore Monarch habitat in the Willamette Valley.
One species, A. solanoana, exists in Southwestern Oregon but is restricted to serpentine gravel slopes that are difficult to reach by foot. I want to use a drone to document their occurrence in areas where hiking is not possible or would be destructive to the fragile ecosystem of these areas. Later in the year I will return to collect seed and attempt to propagate it for free distribution to dedicated gardeners.
Another species, A. cordifolia, exists alongside A. solanoana but is not as rare. I would also like to bring this species into cultivation from native seed.