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Plant Milkweed and Watch Butterflies Grow

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29Sep10chrysalis[1]
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by KYW’s Phran Novelli

A lovely little pendant just over an inch long, pale jade green with flecks of gold. It sounds like I’m describing jewelry, and it is one of nature’s prettiest adornments – the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly. Often a caterpillar attaches to a branch or leaf before creating the case where it becomes a butterfly, but visiting our cousin Kittie’s garden recently, she showed us several of these decorations dangling from her deck railing.

To see them hanging there, you might mistake them for tiny plastic toys, but within weeks, a beautiful butterfly emerges, unfurls its wings and hangs there to let them dry before it can fly. You can watch it all in wonder in your own back yard. Monarch butterflies – famous for their far-flung migrations to Mexico – spend the summer around here feeding on our native milkweed. All you have to do is what Kittie did – just plant some milkweed in your garden next year and wait for the butterflies to find it.

(Photo by Phran Novelli)

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