Saturday, September 26, 2009
Asters Bees and Skippers
A closeup of an Aster novae-angliae flower. I can see why bees and butterflies would be attracted to these. The flower petals are so softly colored they might as well be made of silk.
Swarms of skippers have been dancing around these plants. Over the winter I'm making it a goal to learn more about these butterflies. Currently I don't even know what the caterpillar looks like or what host plants they use. Clearly I'm doing something right though.
In past years we only had brown species of these. But as I've introduced more native plants I've found the color pallet has expanded to orange. Like THIS one. Maybe I'm just attracted to colorful things.
Every time I see swarms of skippers I never fail to see a few pairs engage in their mating ritual; a game of follow the leader.
Aster novi-belgii is an Aster I found out front of an ACME (grocery store) and they were 2 for $10 and covered in bees!
Honey Bees and great big Carpenter Bees soon found them once I got home. By the next they they were covered. I'm really learning to like Asters with "nov" in the name.
I've also noticed most of the asters that get pollination have their flowers change color after pollination.
An added bonus to all these asters, especially when you let them grow on their own. I've scared so many birds hidden in the Aster thicket this year. I want to say they have to be eating the seeds. My Summer blooming Aster (which I forget the name of, sorry) never really got any attention from pollinators but is getting some bird attention now.