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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Asclepias


 I was elated to see that my Asclepias tuberosa was blooming, it may be a little early in the season, but the insects are certainly happy about the blooms! Check out all the pollen on the stems of this plant, it has obviously been a big hit with the neighborhood insects.  
I'm sure you notice that I'm not using the common name of this plant, due to the bad name (Butterfly Weed) I have decided to only use the Latin name of the plant in an attempt to get more people to use this in their landscaping.  This plant is ideal if you are someone that lives near a farmer.  Farmers are not big fans of the Asclepias family, but this one does not spread as readily as another great Asclepias--Asclepias syriaca (Milkweed or MONARCH FLOWER) I encourage everyone to refer to this plant as Monarch Flower if you do not feel up to the Latin name.  With a slight name change, I bet this plant can become the center piece of any garden!  I must say that I enjoy the bright orange color of the A. tuberosa.  This past weekend, I actually ran out in the middle of a hayfield to rescue some from a farmer before he mowed it over.   Needless to say, that my friends all looked at me like I was crazy, the good news, is I have four more plants that I put in my home flower beds!!

Does anyone know the name of the  Lepidoptera that has landed on the MONARCH FLOWER in the fuzzy picture on the left? I'm still in the process of learning the zillions of butterflies and moths out there though I recently purchased a very helpful and awesome book at the Millersville Native Plant Conference by Dr. David Wagner.  This field guide is the most amazing that I have found, and I look forward to taking it out in the field with me to learn more about all of the caterpillars, moths, and butterflies.  TLC's summer interns are not quite as thrilled by the prospect, now I'll be distracted by one more thing while we are out on the preserves.....
Here's a link to the book: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7939.htmlv  I highly recommend it for all things Lepiodoptera!

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