Ecologist Eric Lee-Mäder and noted botanical artist Beverly Duncan have teamed up to create this unique exploration of the complex ecosystem that is supported by the remarkable milkweed plant, often overlooked or dismissed as a roadside weed. With stunning, up-close illustrations and engaging text, they trace every stage of the plant's changes and evolutions throughout the seasons, including germination, growth, flowering, and seed development. Simultaneously, they chronicle the lives of the many creatures whose lives are intertwined with the milkweed: monarch butterflies; soldier and queen butterflies; milkweed tussock moths; large and small milkweed bugs; milkweed weevils; bumble bees; goldfinches; and more. The delightful illustrations and illuminating text give the reader the feeling of browsing an avid naturalist's sketchbook, while also learning about different milkweed species, how to propagate milkweed in the garden, the industrial uses of milkweed, interesting milkweed relatives, and more.
Eric Lee-Mäder is the Pollinator Program Co-Director at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and co-owner of Northwest Meadowscapes, a native seed farm located on Whidbey Island specializing in pollinator-friendly native flowers and grasses. He is the lead author of several Xerces books, 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Attracting Native Pollinators, and Farming with Native Beneficial Insects.
Beverly Duncan is a contemporary botanical artist who focuses on watercolour paintings that incorporate the flora and fauna of a place and a season. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and her paintings were awarded “Best of Show” at the ASBA at the Horticultural Society of New York exhibition.
"A beautifully illustrated natural and social history of milkweed, intertwined with the author's personal narrative."
– Rachel Winfree, PhD, Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, Rutgers University
"An approachable, elegantly illustrated guide to the ecological hub that is milkweed."
– Benjamin Vogt, author of Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design and A New Garden Ethic
"If you open this book because you care about monarchs, you'll keep reading to learn about the fascinating and important roles milkweeds play in so many human and wild stories."
– Karen Oberhauser, PhD, advisor to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
"This is a great book for a deep dive into a well-known wildflower and all the life that swirls around it, from the beloved Monarch butterfly and numerous other insects that depend on these plants, to the birds, mammals and microbial life in the soil. The artwork is spectacular and illustrative. I wish the stories of all our wildflowers could be so engagingly told."
– Heather McCargo, Wild Seed Project