Butterfly-killing invasive plant found in northern lower Michigan
KINGSLEY, MI (AP)-- Officials in northern Michigan are working to get rid of an invasive plant that poisons monarch butterflies.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports the black swallow-wort was recently spotted in downtown Kingsley. The vine has heart-shaped leaves and small, dark purple flowers. It typically grows along roadsides, pastures and gardens.
Emily Cook of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network says the plant attracts monarch butterflies, which often lay their eggs on it. But caterpillars will be poisoned when they hatch and begin to eat the plant.
Joanne Foreman of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the plant's sap is toxic to mammals and insects. The plant also has pathogens that stop other plants from growing around it.