Thursday, June 27, 2013

Butterfly Weed Relations

Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed, has been at the height of blooming for a week now. Here you can see the red stripes I talked a little about earlier. I may try to start a lot of this by seed this year and try to get some that has deeper red flowers. At any rate I plan on doing a lot of seed propagating this autumn to see what I can really get established.

Bumblebees have been the main pollinator of the flowers so there's little to worry about. This species is self compatable too so they'll generate viable seed even if they don't visit other plants.

Milkweed gets pollinated in an odd sort of way. Basically the pollen anthers themselves break off and attach to the foot of the pollinator, then then have to get stuck in one of the 5 grooves on another bloom.

Hidden among the flowers was a wolf lynx spider (thanks Sara) which I saw had recently shed its skin.

Normally they're a gray color. What struck me about this one though was how it was almost mimicking the color of the milkweed flowers while its exoskeleton hardened up. I found several other spider skins attached to leaves under other plants.

My little meadow garden has been a good source of ant food for my Pheidole colony. The closest to a common name they have is Big-Headed Ants and while the major caste does have a large head it's not something the average person would notice. The ants are only 3mm long.