Wood Mint Wildflower on Nichol Road

Wood Mint Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow on Nichol Road in Raccoon Creek State Park

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 (New York, 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 my family members have described, vividly, the desperation of a day in the 1930’s when air conditioning had not been invented. If it had been available, it would have been unaffordable for immigrants living in tenements. Can you imagine living in a cold-water flat?

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.



Falcate Orangetip Butterflies

Falcate Orange Tip Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Male and female Anthocharis midea share a perch on this member of the mustard family. It’s April 7th, an early appearance for these orangetips in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. A happy sight for this butterfly photographer. Why? Because their period of adult flight is short and you never know whether or not they will be seen  in their usual locations on any given morning.

These are near the northern edge of their range. They are rarely seen in most of New York state, and are not mentioned in Larry Weber’s Butterflies of New England (Kollath-Stensaas Publishing, 2002). Jaret Daniels’ Butterfies of the Carolinas (Adventure Publications, 2003) reports them as sometimes common. Cech and Tudor’s Butterflies of the East Coast agrees, reporting them from Georgia north to eastern New York and Conneticut and as far west as Nebraska and Texas.

So, what are they doing, perched on the sunny leaf-top platform? Have they seen our last post and are they commiserating about its poignant memories of Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers and hikes through the long gone trails in Flatbush, Brooklyn? Have they chosen one another as devoted mates? Surely they are not sharing insights about the yings and yangs of the Republicans and Democrats! It’s April, so its too early to summon the pool boy for drinks.

We were pleased to see them and pleased that they tolerated the approach of  our macro- lens.

Were there Falcate Orangetips in Brooklyn, New York, before the small farms sold out to the straw men and the developers who followed them?