Milkweed Fiber – What could this mean for Monarchs?

By Idelle, February 17, 2015

Material ConneXion’s Dr. Andrew Dent tells us why the hollow structure of milkweed fiber provides inherent acoustic and thermal insulation nearly equivalent to goose down. Video produced and edited by James Eades.

What does this mean?
Milkweed is essential to the survival of the Monarch Butterflies, which are currently in danger of becoming a threatened species. They lay their eggs and their larvae feed exclusively on milkweed plants. Common milkweed is a perennial crop traditionally considered a nuisance weed by farmers, and is often removed or eliminated as farms expand, limiting the areas that Monarch Butterflies can lay their eggs. However, currently the increase of production of milkweed for floss, fiber and seed could provide local farmers with a new crop option. I am curious if farmers could grow Milkweed and allow the Monarch Butterfly larvae to feed on the plants while still being able to produce a crop of seed pods? It would be an interesting story to investigate, stay tuned!