Argh. Black Swallowtail? Pipevine Swallowtail? Spicebush Swallowtail? I’ve read the descriptions of each and looked at a million photos. I surrender. Whatever you want to call it I thought it was a pretty little thing.
At the end of each month the transmutational garden hosts a butterfly bucket list event. It is a great excuse to:
- learn more about flowers that fly
- go on a butterfly hunt yourself
- slowly go mad trying to attach a name to what you find
Here’s a butterfly I can name with slightly more confidence (hopefully)
There is a little display of mistflowers and milkweeds growing in one of the demonstration gardens at the Mueller greenbelt. This week it is drawing in clouds of Queen butterflies and people. Mistflowers are fast becoming one of my favourite plants. Not only do they attract an amazing number and diversity of pollinators but they persevere.
I took the photo below last October. That’s a pretty long season of bloom. As far as I know there are three native varieties: Conoclinium betonicifolium, Conoclinium coelestinum and Conoclinium greggii.
So knowing all this I was pretty surprised to learn today that the official host plants for Queen Butterflies are milkweeds — both for larvae and adult forms. Though milkweeds were included in the demonstration garden I was looking at, nearly all of the butterflies were clustering on the mistflowers.
I wonder why. Maybe I got the identification wrong, maybe the milkweeds were tapped out, perhaps the mistflowers had more nectar to offer at that particular time of day …
Any ideas on what might be going on here?