do the monarchs go?
there any reason why the seed pods on my swan plant were ball-shaped
this year rather than swan-shaped as last year? And where do monarch
butterflies go in winter? I saw one flying around last week so they
must have liked our mild winter.
quite common for seed pods on swan plants to change shape, but I
don't know why. I suspect changes in environmental conditions such
as temperature, drought or fertiliser affect their development.
Monarch butterflies in
New Zealand don't seem to migrate over great distances as they do
in North America. Studies here suggest the furthest they're likely
to go is around 20km and most travel a lot less. In autumn, as the
weather gets cold, several thousand butterflies can cluster in warm,
sheltered spots, often within the branches of a large evergreen
tree. Those I've seen were well hidden inside large conifers, protected
from the worst of the winter wind and cold. On warm winter days
some of the butterflies fly out from the cluster to feed on nectar
from nearby flowers, so several monarchs flying around near large
trees in winter may be a clue to the large cluster within.
Gardener, Issue 182, 2005, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.