Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Restaurant Rosinweed, Part 2

Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) bloomed prolifically during the drought summer of 2018--unlike the Sawtooth Sunflowers (Helianthus grosseserratus), which normally are abundant but were barely visible during this dry year.  Many butterfly species that in past years have filled the Creek Field were also scarce.  Therefore, the abundance of the Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) in our bottomland prairie restoration was especially striking.  Here one of hundreds of Silver-spotted Skippers feeds on the flowers of Rosinweed:

Silver-spotted Skipper on Rosinweed
Creek Field, August 14, 2018
Legumes are the host plants for the caterpillars of Silver-spotted Skippers, and our prairie uplands and bottomlands provide many candidates.   Redbuds, locusts, Blue Wild Indigo, Leadplant, Partridge Pea, trefoils, False Indigobush--all had vigorous growth this year, despite the drought. 

In addition to Silver-spotted Skippers, Monarch butterflies, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and Goldfinches came to dine at Restaurant Rosinweed:  
Diners at Restaurant Rosinweed, in order of appearance:
Silver-spotted Skipper, Monarch butterfly, 
female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (dark form), and American Goldfinch.
Creek Field, mid-August, 2018
Bottomland Tallgrass Prairie Restoration

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