The hospitable coneflowers.

The white echinacea were covered in blooms when I got home from my three weeks away. These flowers make striking backdrops for butterflies especially, and a Painted Lady was giving me lots of photographic opportunities yesterday. I’m sharing several pictures because each one highlights a different aspect of the exquisite form; the light changed slightly, the insect opened its wings wider…

The hairs on its body, and the translucence of the wings, the white tip at the ends of the antennae  — I couldn’t see these things at all in the glare of midday, but only later in the dimness of evening, in the digital image.

I’ve seen a few other critters on these flowers, but they were mostly in too big a hurry for me to study them with my camera. In the back yard, the narrowleaf milkweed that briefly hosted a single Monarch caterpillar last summer are so colonized by aphids that I can’t imagine any butterfly finding a good place to land, if she did want to try that place again. It was a little later in the season that the Monarch events happened last year; maybe there’s time for me to get rid of the aphids somehow, and hope that they’ve left some nourishment in the leaves for caterpillars…

My Golden Guide to Insects tells me that “The painted lady or thistle butterfly is reported to be the most widely distributed of all known butterflies.” And this may be because the many and varied plants the larvae feed on are also common — including sunflowers. That means, when those butterflies are ready, they can just flutter southward a few feet to find a spot on my nutritious and healthy Delta Sunflowers to lay their eggs. Until then, girls, you are welcome to drink at my hospitable coneflowers.


13 thoughts on “The hospitable coneflowers.

  1. What a rewarding time you must have had in your garden recording your flower visitors. Well done to you for getting such clear pictures – butterflies generally elude my photographic efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful creature! The underside of the wings in that third photo reminds me a peacock wings but in an understated beige, and the fur-like hairs on its back, how exquisite. Thank you for sharing these, I love seeing all the butterflies about at this time of year, such a joy.

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  3. the way you choose one thing to immerse yourself in is really beautiful as is your writing. Watching butterflies in my garden is one of my favorite activities and this is the first year I’ve had coneflowers so it’s been a treat.

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  4. The Painted Lady is beautiful, as is her host. Aphids are having a heyday in my garden this year, too. I’ve sacrificed the poppies to save the tomatoes. So far, so good.

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  5. Such loveliness! Thank you. Coneflowers are a favorite. Unfortunately, something likes to eat the petals and I’m still trying to figure out how to stop them.

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  6. Lovely! I planted coneflower seeds but . . . nothing. Maybe they’ll rally next year. I have seen many painted ladies. I try not to look at the Japanese beetles. Argh. I’m glad you are safely home!

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  7. Just Beautiful! I am so grateful for your photos and those of the Monarch and birding group I look in on. I myself have never been a picture taker! Awful huh? I will get my tablet out in the garden. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Besides being lovely the Painted Lady seems to be the easiest butterfly to photograph. I find I can get so close and it doesn’t seem to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

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