Invasive plant is harming endangered Monarch Butterflies in western NY

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A watchdog group is sounding the alarm over an invasive species in New York. Swallow-wort is a non-native plant species originally introduced in the 1800s.

Since this isn’t the plant’s natural habitat, there is nothing to control its spread. The group, WNY Prism, says the plant is doing serious harm to Monarch Butterflies.

“The problem with the black and pale Swallow-wort is that it has many, many seeds in it’s pods. And the other problem is, it’s in the milkweed family, so it does trick monarchs basically, into laying eggs on this plant and the caterpillars will die because it’s toxic for them,” said David O’Donnell of Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm.

Monarch Butterflies are listed as endangered. According to New York invasive species, Swallow-wort is here in the finger lakes.