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Old 05-02-2013, 03:45 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by turttle View Post
The idea of one kind of flower being a "butterfly magnet" is kind of nonsensical, because the different butterflies definitely have individual preferences. The shape and depth of the nectaries has a large effect, as well as the chemistry of the flowers. My various swallowtails all go to the deep flowers, my hairstreaks to the flatter ones.
...
Plant lots of different native plants, of different families, colors, bloom times, etc, and every butterfly will come to the buffet, not to mention the abundance of other pollinators.
I agree that "Butterfly magnet" and "favorite" can be gross over simplifications when it comes to choosing plants for a butterfly garden; perhaps even a bit misleading. But if you give presentations to the general public (or even experienced gardeners that are new to the idea of a butterfly gardening) like I do you have to get comfortable with the use of those terms. Those terms will come up and people will ask questions with those perceptions in mind.

I picture myself as a person with one foot in the science and one foot in the arena of the general public using that science. I try to bridge the gap that often exists between the scientist and the general public when I give a presentation. Starting out with the terms and perceptions of the audience usually is a more effective way to draw them into a presentation. That opens the door to discussing concepts like host plants and the differing needs of different butterfly species.

Lots of different plant species is definitely the way to go, but I also try to provide some useful guidance for the gardener that is starting out and only has the budget or space to plant a relatively small number of plants.
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...
The Packera might be good for providing the alkaloids, since even though the blooms are gone fairly early in the spring, it is alkaloids in the decaying stalks that the butterflies are attracted to.

I frequently see red spotted purples on my beautyberry bush, "licking" the leaves and stems, so I suspect it is providing something to them, PA or other.
...
That's exactly the kind of information that I'm hoping to zero in on so that I can add it to a butterfly gardening presentation.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:58 PM   #42
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Which gives me a nice segue (sort of) into a new consideration for butterfly gardens. I started looking into this subject while perusing through my "A World for Butterflies: Their Lives, Behavior and Future" book by Phil Schappert a few days ago. My brain went off on one of it's tangents when I read this:

NEWisc, is this book worth having?
It's my favorite butterfly ecology book. Here's a post from another thread where I tried to describe the book:
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NEWisc: Thanks for sharing a favorite butterfly book of yours. Does it get into detail about the larvae and their host plants?
Yes, but it's not a list of butterflies and their host plants, or a butterfly field guide type of book. The material isn't presented/separated by species; it's presented by topics such as butterfly eggs, butterfly caterpillars, mating rituals, camouflage, survival strategies, etc.

Here's a brief overview of the book from Google Books:
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The book is divided into five chapters, each focusing on a major question:
  • What are butterflies?
  • How many kinds of butterflies are there?
  • Where do they live?
  • How do they live?
  • What can we do to help them survive?
Among the many topics discussed in detail are evolution, life cycle, courtship and reproduction, anatomy, geographic distribution, migration, demography, as well as butterfly-watching.
Chapter 4 "A butterfly's World" is really the heart of the book. It's everything you want to know about butterfly eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides and adult butterflies.

The author published an expanded index on his website that may help provide some insight into the content of the book:
Welcome to...A World for Butterflies

It's actually a bit hard to describe this book, but if you like butterflies and you enjoy science you'll enjoy this book.
[/quote]
The thread:
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...y-books-2.html

The book:
A World for Butterflies: Their Lives, Behavior and Future: Phillip Schappert: 9781554070657: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:03 AM   #43
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I know that whole Senecio changed to Packera is annoying. Butterweed was changed from Senecio glabellus to Packera glabella. Golden ragwort was Senecio aureus and is now Packera aurea.

Anyway, all of them contain PAs. I saw P. glabella in particular mentioned in one of the articles. We have 6 of them native to KY. NatureServe lists 70 different native Packera and PLANTS lists 55. That's a lot of ragwort! If you do a search for Senecio the list gets even longer! At least NatureServe separates them.

The only explanation I could find on L. ligulistylis and monarchs had to do with a chemical compound in the flower, similar to your Eupatorium reference. Wouldn't it be nice to know what particular chemical compound that was? Someone should do some research and write a paper! Perhaps someone has but now that I'm not a student anymore I can't access scientific journals.

It's so easy to go off on a tangent like this buts it's so interesting to me.
I did a quick search on "butterfly gardens senecio packera" to see if I could find a butterfly gardening article that discussed the importance of including pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA) producing plants in a butterfly garden. Senecio and Packera species were mentioned as nectar sources, and as host plants for a few species of butterflies, but none of the articles mentioned the PA factor.

To me that represents one of those gaps between the science and the butterfly gardener's choice of plants for a butterfly garden. A butterfly garden that is intended to address the declining monarch population would be more effective if it included all three types of plants - nectar sources, host plants, and PA producing plants. Senecio and Packera are species that could be easily overlooked if only nectar and host plants are considered.

Tangents are the spice of life knowledge.
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:08 AM   #44
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NEWisc,
I have been doing some lit searching on N.A. natives that may be favored because of their Pyrrolizidine alkaloid content. I think rattlebox (Sesbania drummondii) may be a good candidate species for me, but it's range is restricted to the se US. I will keep a look out for other species.
Katie
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:28 AM   #45
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NEWisc,
I have been doing some lit searching on N.A. natives that may be favored because of their Pyrrolizidine alkaloid content. I think rattlebox (Sesbania drummondii) may be a good candidate species for me, but it's range is restricted to the se US. I will keep a look out for other species.
Katie
Kchd,
Thank you. I would like to nail down at least a few species of plants from each area of the U.S. Many of the sources that I have found so far only go down to family or genus level and I can't be certain about any specific plant. The Asteraceae family, for example, is one that is often cited for plants that contain PA's; but only about 3% of the species in that family actually contain PA's.
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Old 03-31-2015, 02:54 PM   #46
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NEWisc is that a white admiral you have as an avatar?
I believe I saw one fluttering about yesterday. This site https://wisconsinbutterflies.org/but...-white-admiral says their sightings begin nearly mid May.... It's only April! Could they already be out and about or have I a case of a mistaken identity? If so, what else might it have been that bears the similar black and white markings along it's edge.
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:08 PM   #47
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Yes, that is a white admiral as my avatar.

The white admiral overwinters as a caterpillar, so it would be very unusual for any adults to be around yet. The most likely candidate for what you saw is the mourning cloak. They overwinter as adults and are often out and about early in the spring on warm sunny days. They will even appear in winter sometimes if we get a nice sunny 60 degree day.
Mourning Cloak — wisconsinbutterflies.org

The morning cloaks do like fruit and you can often attract them with a juicy piece of watermelon.

Another one that you might see really early is the Milbert's tortoiseshell, but I don't think you would mistake this one for a white admiral.
Milbert's Tortoiseshell — wisconsinbutterflies.org
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:04 PM   #48
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Could very well be....Its color was the darker black phase shown in that link.
It all happened so quick. I was walking alongside a hill along the river and whoooooosh up it came, I saw, and it was gone in a flash.
All so sudden. I really wasn't expecting any butterflies to be flitting about at this time of the year that's for sure.

TY TY
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:06 PM   #49
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So they hibernate under rocks...You'd think their wings would be all torn up
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:08 PM   #50
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Milberts tortoiseshell. Now that's a neat one. L
ike a pair of red eyes looking at you!
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