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Chicago Urban Gardening

The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois

Master Gardener Reports on Monarch Butterflies

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Master Gardener Catherine Murphy reports on Monarch Butterflies in downtown Chicago:

Just wanted to let you all know that there are a zillion monarch butterfly chrysalis on State Street downtown! They are at State and Lake in the little garden in front of that TV station. If you look on the palm that looks like a purple yucca you can see a lot of little green chysali.Then once you see them you can see a whole lot more. There are some clinging to the grasses too - with a lot of spent chyrsali also and probably some newly emerged monarchs. We just came back from there and saw 3-4 newly emerged monarchs and some caterpillars along with the chrysali. When they first emerge they have to stretch and rest so you can get a great view of our usually restless friends. I cut some leaves yesterday that were close to the walkway for my kids in After School Matters class and to protect them from little interested plucking fingers but the ones on the street side are still there. I found one chyrsalis on a very short stem lying on the ground. I took that home and suspended the stick on the neck of a syrup jar (as the stick was so short and it was the only way to suspend the chysalis) and this morning we had a monarch stuck in the bottom of a jar! Jan cut the top of the jar though and now he is warming his wings on the curry plant in on our back porch - he'll fly tonight. The chrysalis turn dark before they open and they like to emerge in the morning and the evening. I hope everyone can get a chance to see them.

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