Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Milkweed Flowers and Butterflies

Monarch caterpillar
We were out picking some more milkweed flower buds in a large, open field filled with milkweed plants (Asclepias syariaca) when we noticed all the butterflies on the open flowers. Milkweed plants will flower in stages, and most plants will have tight flower bud clusters, loose clusters, and fully opened flower clusters on the same stalk. Butterflies are constantly on the move, so Robert had a hard time getting them to "pose" for a picture. We saw some Monarchs, and more caterpillars, and others I don't know the names of. Anyone who can help with these butterfly names and ID?

I think it was orange with the wings open

The little orange one in the right corner

A very large butterfly

Fast and pretty


Anonymous said...

I believe the butterflies are(from top to bottom):
Great Spangled Fritillary
a skipper of some kind (I'm not sure which)
Spicebush Swallowtail
Silver-Spotted Skipper
I sent you an email with some links.
Leilani's Aunt

Anonymous said...

Definitely agree on Great Spangled. I believe it's a Tawny-edged Skipper. Toss-up between Spicebush and Black Swallowtail, mostly because some is hidden behind the flower. Definitely Silver-Spotted. Beautiful!
≥Kit Kat≤

Dea-chan said...

Don't monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed pods?

The 3 Foragers said...

Thanks guys! I knew I could count on you two! Monarchs lay their eggs on the undersides of the leaves, in several cycles over the spring/summer. I found this caterpillar in the field, but have a chrysalis already at home in a bug box which will come out next week as the butterfly.

Teresa said...

This is a good example of why you don't want to harvest too much of any one plant. Leave lots behind for the wildlife and so it can reproduce. I never take more than 5% of anything, unless it's a non-native species.

The 3 Foragers said...

Here is another example where we feel we need to clarify that we are aware of responsible foraging practices and don't need a lecture or suggestion of how to to it. There are 5-9 flower clusters on each plant stalk, and perhaps 1000 flower stalks in one of the 5 open fields in this area. We picked probably 40 flower clusters in the whole property. Robert does spend lots of time photographing and not gathering anything at all. We are 2 adults and one child, we are aware, we are responsible. If the 6 billion people on the planet started foraging on this parcel of unnames property, there might be a problem, but the 3 of us don't need the lesson.