I was hiking Nichol Road in Raccoon Creek State Park on July 15th. Much was familiar. Butterflies were few and far between and wildflowers were the usual for mid-July in southwestern Pennsylvania.
This one seemed to be unfamiliar to me. Packed with flowers arranged in 4 levels, it reminded me of the tenements in the Lower East Side of Manhattan (NY, NY), on a boiling summer afternoon, Circa 1920 – 1950, with the sweltering tenants all hanging out of their windows, 1st floor to 4th floor, all trying to catch a cool breeze, any cool breeze. I have never seen this, but family members have described, vividly, the desperation of a day in the 30’s, air conditioning 1) not yet practically invented and 2) if it had been available, unaffordable for immigrants in tenements lacking upgraded electrical wiring. Absolutely. Cold water flats. Can you imagine?
On this very day, many are communicating their fear of the implications of the shocking absence of Monarch butterflies from the lower 48 states. Some of those writers campaign for the need for greater awareness and for the immediate need for the general public to champion butterfly awareness. I expect that few of those same butterfly experts will see this blog post, and further, that few will aid us in properly identifying this Tenement Wildflower Plant.
wingedbeauty.com is available to share butterfly images, information and excitement. It would be helpful if on occasion significant butterfly authorities visited and shared their ID’s, experiences and thinking.
Place your bets, folks!
FYI, Shane Miller, of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), who is the Botanist at the unique Wildflower Reserve at Raccoon Creek State Park, has responded, identifying our wildflower as Wood Mint. He describes it as a native wildflower that long-tongue pollinators frequently visit, including Sphinx moths, Bumblebees, hummingbirds and… butterflies. Blephilia spa. Found throughout most of North America. Habitat: Moist places.
A native Mint. Good.
- Wildflowers Of Northern Turkey (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Bee Balm Wildflower (wingedbeauty.com)