Monday, June 25, 2007

Many Storeyed and In Bloom

I think of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) as a series of many storeyed rural residences, and now that the wild specimens in Lanark are well on their way to a fine full blooming, the ones on my hill are absolutely full of foraging aphids, beetles, spiders, moths and butterflies.

Wild winged residents like the Monarch butterfly have evolved a special set of defenses to cope with the toxic chemical cocktail contained within the leaves of the milkweed (glycosides), and the Monarch's dietary preferences make it unappealing to predators.

After spending the weekend in the orchid bogs in Lanark, we returned home last evening severely chewed by deerflies, and we are rather looking forward to a whole day without hungry rampaging insects.


Suzie Ridler said...

It's the one aspect of nature that's hard to handle...biting insects!

Stunning photos of the butterlies, they are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Hi kerrdelune,

Your post last week motivated me to visit my sister's farm in the rolling hills of Wisconsin. They have an expansive native prairie, which they maintain with vigilance. I told her about you and asked her to show me some monarchs. She took me up to the back prairie where we saw milkweed and butterfly milkweed just dancing with monarchs. How magical! Thanks for the careful eye.

I'm sorry that you got chewed by those blasted flies. They make me crazy.