Mary Malinowski’s garden in Plains Township blooms with clusters of purple flowers of the common milkweed, planted to attract monarch butterflies.
But the last two years, the milkweed’s broad, flat leaves have been free of monarchs, their caterpillars or their eggs.
“This year, so far nothing,” she said. “But the years before, they were always here before the first of June.”
Butterfly observers and scientists are warning that the monarch, North America’s most famous butterfly, is in trouble. Overwintering populations counted in Mexico are at their lowest in 20 years, according to data collected by Mexican biologists and compiled by MonarchWatch.org, a website run by University of Kansas professor Orley “Chip” Taylor, Ph.D.