My favorite time of the year is fast approaching! I love summer wildflowers - I love the colors, the fact that they are often tall and robust, and that they last a while. Oh, and best of all, I love all the really cool insects that visit them! Each flower seems to have it's own little food chain. Insects that eat/collect pollen and nectar come in while predators like crab spiders and assassin bugs sit and wait for them. Of course they all have to watch out for bigger predators like a praying mantis or dragonfly!
So let's first take a look at some of the wonderful flowers blooming now, and then stay tuned for the follow-up post of all those amazing insects!
Here is some beautiful Ironweed. A favorite nectar plant for butterflies, and oddly enough, the pollen is white!
Everyone knows this one, it's Queen Ann's Lace. Look for Black Swallowtail caterpillars on this member of the Parsley family.
Thin-leaved Coneflower is one of many yellow composite flowers that can be confusing. For a great blog post about these kinds of flowers click here
Wingstem can be found along woodland edges and can you believe it? It has wings on its stem!
Heal-all, a member of the mint family and quite common.
Here is another yellow composite. What is it? I don't know! This is a picture from last year and it wasn't labeled! Oh no!
Here's a real beauty! Swamp Rose Mallow. Yes, it's a kind of Hibiscus, but still a native plant. The ones we have here are a light pink or a magenta color. These like to have wet feet and most are found all around the pond.
So that's just a few, there are and will be more. For example, yesterday we saw cardinal flower in bud, and flat-topped aster in bloom. Each time you come out to the preserve there should be something new to see!