Monday, December 14, 2009

The Butterfly Garden Comes Back

This fall, after 2 years of awful drought and lots of plant attrition in the FLWR Butterfly garden (a.k.a. Lepidoptera Lounge), the garden bounced back with an amazing amount of flowers. And with them, came the butterflies.

Anyone who walked by the butterfly garden toward the end of November likely saw swarms and swarms of butterflies getting nectar from the white mistflower, Gregg's mistflower, tropical milkweed and lantana (see photo above). All great natives for fall butterflies.

Here are some photos of a few of the butterfly species that so happily stopped by our lounge.

Queen (Danaus gilippus) - related to the monarch - on the mistflower. Larvae feed on milkweeds, and we got 'em.

A beautiful yellow skipper sips from the Gregg's mistflower. I'm pretty sure this is a Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) which is pretty common. It's larval hostplant is bermuda grass, which is also pretty darn common!

A Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) on the white mistflower

A Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) on the white mistflower

I think this pretty little thing is a Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis), also on the Gregg's mistflower. Larval feed on mallows (like turk's cap).

This is the caterpillar of the Queen butterfly, feeding on the butterfly weed (Asclepius tuberosa).

If you know what any of these are better than I do, feel free to leave the names in the comments section of this post!