Enid OK is a migration stop over for monarch butterflies on their way south--but what isn't commonly known is that they also breed here, too, and that they do NOT exclusively eat that plant we call "milkweed", as you can see here. This is Honeyvine, and, like Butterfly Weed, is in a family of plants also called "milkweed". Trouble is, the City of Enid will destroy this stuff as well as the plant "milkweed" where ever they find it on land they're responsible for maintaining. This video is classified as Science and Technology because of the not-commonly-known biological information it contains, pertinent to the important conservation of this endangered species. It is also why my yard is a designated Monarch preserve.
The first Monarch mom was observed laying eggs in my yard today, and because this species is now considered to be endangered, I'm speaking up about my observations in Monarch breeding as it progresses this year and what I've observed in previous years. I will also say up front that this article is likely to disagree with common expertise. However, this year I'm making snapshots and videos of what usually transpires year after year in my yard, with the strong suggestion that many others try to encourage this in their own yards so that Monarchs may flourish again.
Widely acknowledged is the eradication of Monarch habitat by farming, as farmers control pest weeds which include the milkweed plant. Widely purveyed, though, is this notion that the Monarch larvae feed exclusively on one plant called "milkweed", and that's the part that isn't true, provably false in my own yard which doesn't grow one single bit of milkweed plant. There is a family of plants called "milkweed", and that includes Butterfly Weed as well as what grows prolifically in my own yard--Honeyvine. It's the Honeyvine that draws breeding Monarchs to my yard year after year.
The problem with growing lots of plants of milkweed is that you need a lot of acreage to grow it on. It has a fixed height, and the same can be said for Butterfly Weed. The advantage of the Honeyvine is that you can grow lots of it vertically, up a pole or along a fencerow and such, and any farmer will tell you that it's hard to kill. True--it has a deep taproot and each time you cut it back, it springs back up with additional tendrils.
What's important, though, is that you do NOT cut ANY of it during Monarch breeding season because you'd be killing off a lot of Monarch babies if you do. What I do is observe where the egg laying has occurred, then mark the spot with rebar so that it's easy to see where NOT to mow.