Reduction in common milkweed occurrence in Iowa cropland from 1999 to 2009

The role of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in the lifecycle of the monarch butterfly has increased interest in the presence of this weed in the north central United States. An initial survey conducted in 1999 found that low densities of common milkweed occurred in approximately 50% of Iowa corn and soybean fields. In 2009, common milkweed was present in only 8% of surveyed fields, and the area within infested fields occupied by common milkweed was reduced by approximately 90% compared to 1999. The widespread adoption of glyphosate resistant corn and soybean cultivars and the reliance on post-emergence applications of glyphosate for weed control in crop fields likely has contributed to the decline in common milkweed in agricultural fields.


Robert G. Hartzler. Crop Protection Volume 29, Issue 12, December 2010, Pages 1542–1544