Sunday, June 1, 2014

Butterfly Bonanza - Milkweed Is Blooming!

Saturday morning's ramble through the red clay hills of northern Moore County involved the usual May wildflowers and few early summer surprises, including an Asclepias trifecta, three of our most beautiful native milkweeds already in mid-summer form!

Feast your eyes, butterflies!
Asclepias tuberosa, orange butterfly weed, one of our summertime faves, smiling in abundance from the gravel-strewn clay at the road's margin.

Slender green leaves coated with dust from the road, blossoms bright, refreshed by the shower last night, butterfly's delight.

Just a bit further on, we find a near twin, only purple, not orange. North Carolina is home to a couple of native purple milkweeds; swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, which is quite common, and purple milkweed, Asclepias purpurascens, which is scarce or absent in this part of the state. We're not certain which this is, but we'll give you an update once a positive ID is in...

Regardless of the Latin label, nature's beauty speaks a language universal, and we're blessed and happy to have met her here today.

One more look from afar with the leaves in clear view, for those of you inclined to join us in perusing the field guides to satisfy your naturalist's curiosity for names.

And, last, but not least, the rather tall and gangly blunt-leaved milkweed, Asclepias amplexicaulis. 

It's much looser inflorescence intrigued us so, we have favored it a bit in our image selection this morning, the better to share its bizarre beauty with our friends at Hoot Owl Karma.

Variable in color, sometimes single, sometimes double, always tall and lanky...

distinguished from the other milkweeds by it's large, dark wavy-edged leaves

and that wacky, wobbly, incredibly beautiful crown.

Rise and shine, butterfly, the milkweed is blooming!

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