Milkweed Mapping Project

Under the leadership of FNPS Conservation Committee member Scott Davis, we are documenting occurrences of Florida’s native milkweed (Asclepias) species throughout the state.  Many of our milkweed species are important hosts for monarch butterflies. 

Mr. Davis has documented 21 native milkweed species in Florida and has tracked about 800 populations throughout the state.  The vast majority of the documented populations and plants are roadside occurrences.  Data for this mapping project is available from the FDOT in ARC, KML, KMX, and GPX formats.  

More about the database:
  • It is comprehensive and assimilated into the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Database - used by vegetation managers, land managers, agencies, and more.  What it encompasses:
    • Roadsides
    • Powerline Cuts – (and herbicide Issues)
    • Public Lands
  • Goals:

    • To know where each species occurs
    • To monitor
    • To protect and appropriately manage (with FDOT, county, city, and private land managers)
Key Findings
  • Many species are more uncommon than anticipated, and  they appear to be very dependent upon roadsides.
  • There are major apparent occurrence gaps in South Florida, North Central Florida, and SW Florida
  • Only a handful of sites are utilizing reduced mowing practices that are essential for maintaining appropriate habitat

WE NEED A LOT OF HELP (need to mobilize local FNPS members to contact local officials and support reduced mowing and management of these important sites).  Note that reduced mowing does not mean “no mowing” because some annual mowing, properly timed, is needed at many of these sites.

How you can help:

  1. Document all sightings of Asclepias occurrences and report to  to help fill in gaps and build the database.  Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone. Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send with your email.
  2. Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet). 
  3. If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.