They have never done this before, they always have left it alone. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on just one type of plant, and that’s milkweed (genus Asclepias). Milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides, which are toxic to many species of birds and mammals. Sheep, cattle and sometimes horses may be poisoned by milkweed when they eat it in bulk. Monarchs, like many species of insects, have evolved to specialize in their larval (in this case caterpillar) food source in order to gain protection from predators through the chemicals they ingest from the plants they eat. Milkweed is a native perennial herb with milky sap and leaves opposite or whorled, simple and entire;the flowers are in umbels, purple to greenish white; the fruit is a follicle, with numerous seeds, each with a tuft of silky hairs.. The Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars are communal feeders, they feed in groups of up to 50 and can quickly wipe out an entire milkweed plant. The truth is…most animals won’t eat it because of the taste, and here are some tips for handling milkweed if you’re hesitant. Even though animals have digestive systems that are able to handle quite different food than humans (we generally shouldn’t eat birdseed, for example), it holds true that any butterfly which could make us retch in disgust will also upset the tummy of a bird, cat, dog, or other beloved pet. Milkweed does contain toxins that can be harmful to pets, livestock and people. Using this species in the Houston area, however, has its downfalls. In fact, this is why Asclepias plants are nicknamed milkweed – they seem to weep milk from their leaves and stems. Know that your pets will likely avoid it, but if you’re nervous, research the milkweed species you plant to see toxicity levels. Wash your hands and use gardening gloves like you would any other plant. Unfortunately, milkweed often has a bad reputation. Milkweed is critical to monarch butterflies, but it does contain toxic properties that can harm humans and animals. Milkweed is a poisonous plant which contains toxins. Answer: Like many plants milkweed is toxic - but the toxicity varies by the species of milkweed and the part (root, stem, etc) eaten and how the plant is prepared for eating. Birds are such social creatures, so many owners allow their pets to be included at mealtime. Yes it is poisonous. Think of it as a butterfly restaurant: the butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) ranks near the top of the list of plants that call monarch and painted lady butterflies to dine. This may signal … If you accidentally get some in your eyes, rinse thoroughly right away. is milkweed poisonous to chickens on 12/14/2020 Total Views : 1 Daily Views : 0 12/14/2020 Total Views : 1 Daily Views : 0 Finally, the aforementioned transferability of milkweed’s toxicity makes it popular among species that seek this clever form of defense. The milky sap for which it gets its name leaks out from the stem or leaves. There are so many plants in the wild but, no matter how far the Monarch butterfly travels, it always returns to a certain plant where it lays its eggs, this plant is known as the milkweed. While you won't want to feed the long, tapered flower clusters to your kids or your dog, the plant is not known to be toxic to people or animals. Can milkweed blind you? The most prevalent milkweed species at nurseries around Houston is Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. This is just false. The level of poisoning varies with the particular plant, part of the plant, and amount consumed. As far as the children go, the research I did said that both for adults and children - the milkweed sap (milk) can be an irritant. 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