screen shot 2019-01-28 at 6.50.45 pm

Behold! Rush Milkweed (Asclepias subulata; verified on iNaturalist), uncultivated, growing in our ‘yard’ near the house, fed by greywater.

In this region, this variety of milkweed is of prime benefit to the stupendously gorgeous Western Monarch butterfly; monarch caterpillars can only grow to adulthood when feeding on it.

According to scientists and advocates, the Western Monarch species has probably entered an extinction spiral, probably due to the usual villains: habitat destruction, poisons, climate breakdown, etc.

Well. We see Monarchs from time to time around here, and this plant is probably why.

So we’ve extracted seed from the exploded pod (see above photo) and are now attempting to propagate more milkweed plants. Then we’ll transplant them to our various JT Homesteader and Sunever Farms properties (and maybe interested neighbors’ as well?) and protect/monitor them to make sure they reach maturity.

Butterfly oasis. Worth a shot. Anything for the Monarchs.

For more info on saving the Monarch: Xerces Society


About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in with Stephanie Smith.
This entry was posted in butterfly, JT Homesteader, plants, Sunever Farms and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. jennadidier says:

    My eyes are dazzled by this photo of the exploding pod! Keep up the great work! I guerrilla planted milkweed around the base of a public art work this past year in Carlsbad – hope it calls in the Monarchs and helps them – the whole piece was actually a Monarch breeding habitat disguised as a garden folly:

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