Richland SWCD seeking common milkweed seed pods

Staff report -

MANSFIELD — Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (Richland SWCD) is partnering with the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) to collect common milkweed seed pods to help foster habitats for Monarch butterflies.

Milkweed seed pods are starting to mature to the point where they can be harvested. Start scouting fields and if pods appear slightly gray and are dried out they are ready to pick. Seeds inside should be brown before harvesting. Last year’s massive statewide seed collection effort was spearheaded by the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI), which is working to get the word out about why monarch butterflies are disappearing and help partners create monarch habitat. The disappearance of milkweed, the only host plant for monarch caterpillars, across the U.S. has contributed to the 80% decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years: If you wish to help with this project, collect the pods in a brown paper bag. Drop off collected milkweed seed pods until November 5 in the green and yellow container located outside the Richland SWCD office at 1495 W. Longview Avenue, Mansfield.

Here are a few additional reminders when collecting Milkweed Seed Pods:

  • Become familiar with common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed.
  • If the center seam of the pod pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked.
  • Don’t collect pods that are already open, as they might be infested with insects.
  • Place collected pods in paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.
  • On the bag, please write the date you collected the pods and the county you collected them from.
  • Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver them to the RichlandSWCD office.
  • Only collect from your property or property you have been given permission to go on; do not trespass.

During the winter, seeds from this year’s milkweed seed pod collection will be removed from the pods and returned to Richland SWCD in the spring to be distributed for planting. Last year’s collection effort resulted in 184 milkweed seed packets with planting instructions. If you want free milkweed seeds with planting instructions, please email

If you have questions about collecting milkweed seed pods or other Richland SWCD programs, please call 419-747-8686 or go to

Richland SWCD develops, implements and assists landowners, government agencies and our partners with a wide range of natural resource conservation programs.

Programs and assistance of Richland SWCD are available without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, disability or veteran status.

Staff report