Blogs & Videos: Plants

Close-up of an orange and black butterfly perched on a group of small, unopened flowers

How Milkweeds Can Save Monarch Butterflies And Beautify Your Garden

Did you know milkweeds aren’t really weeds at all? In fact, they’re native plants with large pink, orange, or white flowers. In addition to their charm, plants in the genus Asclepias are the host plants for the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), meaning they are the only food for the monarch larvae, or caterpillars. Without milkweeds, the monarch butterfly has no chance for survival.

Three different kinds of flowers: small, bright orange flowers; bright pink flowers with a yellow butterfly perched on top; and a light pink flower with a bumblebee on it

Roll Up Your Sleeves: How to Grow Native Plants in Your Garden

If you’re gearing up to add native plants to your yard this spring, then congratulations! You’ll make your space more beautiful, with the added bonus of being hospitable to the butterflies and other pollinators (like bees, beetles, and birds) around you.  Before you start (literally) digging in, take a moment to plan the layout of the garden (or a small strip of land along a fence—the pollinators will appreciate that as well). While doing this, take the following into consideration:

A bright orange and black butterfly on a purple flower with yellow center

Every Flower Counts: Five Reasons to Add Native Plants to Your Garden

Chicagoland used to be a vast prairie buzzing with life and supporting thousands of species of insects, birds, and other animals. As the area was developed and farmed, the landscape became fragmented, leading to the demise of many animal and plant populations. A recent—and very much publicized—effect has been the decline of the monarch butterfly, an insect that migrates annually from Mexico to Canada, spending a lot of time in the Midwest along the way.

Woman wearing a baseball cap and blue shirt in a rainforest-like setting, holding a large rock

Women in Science: Corine Vriesendorp, Conservation Ecologist

We're highlighting women in science at The Field Museum and their diverse areas of research, paths to working in science, and their advice for future scientists. Hear from Corine Vriesendorp, MacArthur Sr. Conservation Ecologist, Director, Andes-Amazon program:

How did you get where you are today?

A firefighter spreading controlled fire in a prairie with tall grass

Restoring Plants With Fire in Calumet

This post was written by Iza Redlinski, a Conservation Ecologist in the Keller Science Action Center. She participated in this recent prairie burn. You may not think of winter as a time to prepare for spring flowers, but our ecologists are working hard to hopefully see some native plants emerge in a few months! 

2016 By The Numbers

It's been an exciting year here at The Field Museum: we explored nature and culture all around the globe, continued making discoveries within our collections, and invited visitors to learn with us. To stay in touch and see what we're up to in 2017, sign up for our newsletter at fieldmuseum.org/newsletter and become a member at fieldmuseum.org/membership.  

Top 10 Science, Nature, and Culture Stories of 2016

Need a break from the holiday madness? Curl up with our 10 most-read blog posts of the year for a brain refresh (plus, some fun science facts to share with your visiting in-laws or your New Year’s Eve party guests). From Tully monsters to SUE’s missing arm to local birds, plants, and culture, it’s been a wild ride. Thanks for joining us on these adventures and discoveries, and stay curious with us in 2017!

Four dried corn cobs that are shades of purple, orange, and brown

The Amazing Journey of Maize

Alaka Wali is a Curator of North American Anthropology. In 1621, the Wampanoag Indians and the colonists of Plymouth shared a feast that, today, is widely viewed as the very first Thanksgiving in the colonies of America. This three-day long fall festival celebrated their bountiful harvest and an alliance that would last for over 50 years. With modern traditions of turkeys, parades, and pies, we often lose sight of the true story of those early encounters between the Native peoples and the Mayflower settlers.

Black and white photo of a man with a mustache, next to a dried plant specimen

The Mystery of a Forgotten Botanist and a Rare Frog

Part of a Field Museum scientist’s work is continuing to uncover new things about specimens that were collected a long time ago, adding new information that enhances our understanding of the natural world. When one Field Museum collections manager started asking questions about a small frog he was studying, he didn’t suspect it would lead down such a winding road.

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