Butterfly Study Garden

Monarch and Milkweed

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. 

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.

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 Installation & Planting

bsg irrigation installation
Installing Irrigation: Winter 2019
young milkweed plants
Young Milkweed Plants: February 2020








#1 Showy Milkweed (Ascelpias speciosa)

Showy Milkweed
Showy Milkweed Flowers
Showy Milkweed
Showy Milkweed










#2 Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularias)

Narrow Leaf Milkweed
Narrow Leaf Milkweed Flowers
Narrow Leaf Milkweed seed pods
Narrow Leaf Milkweed Seed Pods