Summer Flowers and Visitors

The dynamic relationship between sequential summer blooms and insect visitors is fascinating, especially when the visitors are butterflies and moths. Like the invertebrates, I follow the sequence of bloom. But, I’m searching for rewards other than nectar!

Knapweed (Centaurea), dominant in abandoned fields and open habitats in July and August, is a popular source of nectar for bees, butterflies and many other insects. In good light, a macro view of the mix of vivid colors can be spectacular.

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Cultivated Phlox is a preferred food source for the Hummingbird Moth (Common Clearwing; Hemaris), but is also a good choice for attracting a variety butterflies to the backyard.

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Joe-Pye-Weed (below) and the goldenrods are breaking bud now, attracting the next wave of insect visitors!

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Photos by NB Hunter (July and August, 2018). © All rights reserved.

 

Late Summer Colors

The delicate spring ephemerals like trillium and bloodroot might get more attention, but late summer wildflowers put on quite a show and often provide multiple rewards. Joe-Pye weeds (Eupatorium), goldenrods (Solidago) and asters (Aster) are dominant late summer bloomers that attract a multitude of insect life, to the point that a summer meadow hums like distant traffic. Of these three groups, Joe-Pye Weed is the first to reach full bloom and is a butterfly magnet!

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Sulphur on Joe-Pye Weed

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Fritillary on Joe-Pye Weed

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Monarch on Joe-Pye Weed

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Tiger Swallowtail on Joe-Pye Weed

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Fritillary on Joe-Pye Weed

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Painted Lady on Joe-Pye Weed

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.