narrow leaf milkweed inflorescence

Butterfly Study Garden

Project Overview

Between the 1980's and 2010, the Monarch butterfly population has declined by over 95% of its historical average population (Pelton et, al., 2019). As of 2019, the total population declined further to an estimated 30,000 butterflies. Monarchs are a native pollinator species that are completely dependent on milkweed as a food resource for their larvae. 

A monarch butterfly hovers above a narrowleaf milkweed plant
A Monarch butterfly on a milkweed plant

The Butterfly Study Garden (BSG) is designed to work as both a reliable habitat to declining Monarch populations as well as a research location where students can learn about research design, data collection, and data interpretation. The BSG design and its on-going research is headed by Dr. Louie Yang at UC Davis. For information on more Monarch studies at the CCUH, visit the Pollinator Study Garden page.

The BSG is planted with two milkweed species native to California. Research will include studying if monarchs have a species preference. The BSG was installed and planted collaboratively by the SmartLawn team and Dr. Louie Yang's Lab. For more information on BSG and the installation process, watch the UC Davis Arboretum video production linked. 

Creating a Butterfly Study Garden (Short Film)

BSG Photos

Three SmartLawn team members unwind dripline into the prepared Butterfly Study Garden area
The SmartLandscape Team installing the Butterfly Study Garden
Young milkweed plants grow in neatly flagged lines
Newly planted Butterfly Study Garden
Juvenile milkweed plants in the Butterfly Study Garden: Summer 2020
Juvenile Milkweed plants: Summer 2020
An inflorescence of showy milkweed blossoms blooms on a plant during the summertime
The inflorescence of Showy Milkweed (Ascelpias speciosa) 
A close up view of NarrowLeaf Milkweed leaves and inflorescences
Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularias)
Narrow leaf milkweed seed pods that have opened and are spilling silky milkweed "coma"
Narrow Leaf Milkweed seed pods