Honey-vine Climbing Milkweed (Cynanchum laeve)

Honey-vine Climbing Milkweed (Cynanchum laeve) is considered an invasive native is this good or bad? Also, would this be a good plant to help Monarch butterflies?

I don’t know about this plant specifically, but from the iNaturalist about page (i.e. Wikipedia), it does host monarch caterpillars. I’d say that if you’re willing to deal with it spreading in (and outside of) your garden and it’s native to your area then go ahead and plant it. There are no good or bad plants, but they may have good or bad effects depending on the specific circumstances.

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I believe that they’re native.

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Definitionally speaking, native plants can’t be invasive. An important part of the definition of invasive plants is that they were introduced from outside the native ecosystem.

There are certainly native plants that are aggressive growers and/or difficult to remove. This plant might fall into that category. It sounds like a great plant to have around for supporting monarchs!

EDIT: Maybe not so good for supporting monarchs after all, having read @pisum 's post below! I don’t have experience with this specific plant so will leave that discussion to those who know it and/or have researched it.

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the US Forest Service seems to indicate that although larvae will eat plants in this genus, they will fail to pupate. they explicitly warn against planting in your yard. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/Monarch_Butterfly/habitat/index.shtml

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I know there appears to be some conflicting information on the internet, but based on published research, it seems that monarchs are able to pupate using Cynanchum laeve. In fact, there does not appear to be much difference between pupae raised on Cynanchum laeve and Asclepias syriaca. I’ve linked to the article below.

https://bioone.org/journals/Journal-of-the-Kansas-Entomological-Society/volume-78/issue-3/0407.40.1/Comparison-of-Common-Milkweed-and-Honeyvine-Milkweed-Asclepiadaceae-as-Host/10.2317/0407.40.1.short

Also, Cynanchum laeve is certainly native across most of the Eastern US, though there may be a few locations where it has spread outside of its native range.

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Welcome to the forum, and thanks!

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Interesting, when I looked it up google said it was an invasive native plants I didn’t think that was possible. Thanks!

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What they meant is that it is a native plant that can create problems in agricultural or other highly altered landscapes. The farmer’s definition of a “weed” is “any plant growing where someone doesn’t want it.”

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Maybe native to country but invasive in specific regions?

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This is a good thing that this milkweed plant is invasive which is considered as good according to me.
Yes,absolutely it is a good plant for Monarch Butterflies as Milkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly.Without milkweed, the larva would not be able to develop into a butterfly. Monarchs use a variety of milkweeds.Monarch larvae ,or caterpillars, feed exclusively on milkweed leaves

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May be 20 to 30 percent of milk weeds may grow on the agricultural lands and farmers take the weeds off the ground as weeds interrupt the nutrition process of other plants
What about the other 70% of the milkweeds ?
These 70% of milkweeds are growing in various places like near river banks.It is frequently found in fence rows, on roadsides, in fields, and in prairies and pastures.

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Invasive is not a good thing.

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Yes Invasive is not a good thing only for some species on Earth like humans but for these butterflies these milkweed plants do not effect them as milkweeds are host plants for Monarch Butterflies.

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interesting. i would think Forest Service publications would be relatively trustworthy, but i do see other publications with the Forest Service stamp that indicate that C. laeve is a suitable larval host. they do seem to be consistent in saying that non-native Cynanchums are detrimental to Monarchs.

i see some internet sources (not sure how trustworthy) which suggest that C. laeve is one of the least preferred plants for Monarchs to lay their eggs on, and it seems like it may contain relatively low levels of the toxins that protect Monarchs from predators. (that said, A. syriaca also apparently has low levels of toxins, but the butterflies seem to be able to use the toxins from that plant more effectively than other milkweeds and actually prefer to lay eggs on that plant. also, it seems like only a fraction of the Monarch population is effectively protected by toxins, but apparently only a fraction needs to be toxic to provide protection to the population.)

i think folks in conservation have a very specific definition of invasive which means aggressive and non-native. others, including many gardeners, may use invasive to refer to any plant that is particularly aggressive, even if native. so whenever someone talks about invasive plants, i have learned yo always follow up by asking whether they are native or non-native.

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No, it’s never a good thing as species compete with local species and take their place, often not leaving any for them.

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Thanks!

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Even if an invasive plant is a host for a popular and pretty insect such as the monarch butterfly, the fact that it may crowd out other native plants is a problem, as @marina_gorbunova said. Those plants are hosts for insects, too, though they are species that you may never hear about because they are not the subject of international conservation campaigns. All the native insects have a role to play in nature, and if we trample on some of them in favor of others, we will upset that balance. It is nice to provide host plants for monarchs, but not if it comes at the expense of other natives, IMO.

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Which brings in some of our other butterflies, too: the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui, has thistle as its host plant. But invasive thistles like Bull Thistle or “Canada” Thistle, although beneficial to the butterfly, are not ideal. North America has native species of thistle, many of which are rare now due to altered habitat. Conserving them would also conserve the Painted Lady, without encouraging invasive thistles.

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I am an Egyptian citizen, and I have an organic farm where Cynanchum acutum is a prevalent weed. It is from the same genus as the one you are mentioning here and the image I see here is very close to what we have. Interestingly, the caterpillars of the beautiful butterfly named Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus feeds on its leaves. also a close relative of the Monarch Danaus plexippus (same genus also). So it is amazing to see a mirroring phenomenon, however, Plain Tiger do not migrate or form great swarms like the Monarch.

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