Caterpillar Tree 05/22/12
A Milkweed plant in Balboa Park is teeming with life. Monarch butterflies in all forms are flourishing now.
Monarch Butterflies on a Milkweed Plant in San Diego
By Connie Goldin, MA, MFT
Take your children to Balboa Park in the spring to see the Monarch butterflies and their offspring on a sprouted Milkweed plant. By chance, while visiting the lily pond in front of the Botanical Building, my family and I saw people looking and pointing at a homely-looking tree, the Milkweed plant. We realized that it was teeming with caterpillars of various sizes. As we listened to more experienced “butterfly watchers,” we were able to spot the chrysalises hanging on the branches. By looking closely at a leaf, we saw the tiniest new caterpillar. Eric Carle sure had it right when he wrote his children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Monarch caterpillars grow more than 2000 times their original size in two weeks!
To find the “occupied” Milkweed plant, face the Botanical Building at the entrance. The plant is just outside the building, on the left, at the right-side entrance. It was so easy to see the caterpillars, chrysalises, and a few Monarchs floating overhead. Here are some of the things we saw:
Here is more information about the butterflies at Balboa Park
A fun book for young children starring caterpillars is Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars. It is a counting book.