ELGIN, Ill. – State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, has introduced bills that will provide additional protection for milkweed, a vital food source for Illinois’ population of threatened monarch butterflies, and also raise awareness of raise awareness of Illinois’ natural resources by designating milkweed as the official state wildflower.
“Milkweed is the only source of food for monarch butterfly caterpillars, and both milkweed and the monarch butterfly are being threatened by climate change, loss of habitat and toxic pesticides,” Moeller said. “These bills provide some important legal protection for milkweed, and also raise awareness of these threats to our natural resources. Making milkweed the state’s official wildflower will help residents recognize where it’s growing, better appreciate its role in sustaining a beautiful species of butterfly, and hopefully take steps to protect this delicate ecosystem.”
Moeller introduced House Bill 2568, which would name milkweed the Illinois State Wildflower. As the only plant that monarch caterpillars use for food, many conservation experts believe the decline in the plant is causing the population of these caterpillars to dwindle.
Moeller is also sponsoring legislation that would stop cities and towns from destroying milkweed. Currently, 18 municipalities classify milkweed as a noxious plant, and have the power to fine homeowners found growing it on their property. Working alongside the Illinois Environmental Council and the Sierra Club, Moeller has introduced House Bill 685, which would prohibit local governments from fining residents who have milkweed on their property.
“We must, as a community, come together to protect our environment and its inhabitants from extinction or eradication,” Moller said. “I am looking forward to a good discussion on the importance of the flower, and I hope my colleagues will join me in emphasizing the need to protect it in the years to come.”