Bergamot Bloom

Bergamot Bloom photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania 7/31/14
There were thousands of these flowerheads that day in August 2014. I returned to Doak Field, morning after morning. I was anxious to see who I’d find there. I also enjoyed being in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the irony that only one person was there to savor the color, aroma and peace of that place.

Winged beauties made sure that I was not alone. Butterflies, moths, bees, flies and ruby throated hummingbirds flew in good numbers. Wasps silently patrolled for unsuspecting victims. Praying mantises kept their statuesque guard, and spiders hid to await their meals.

The mystery that I’ve observed countless times remains so. Why do the nectar seeking butterflies appear together, sip for about 15 minutes, then all, all disappear. Jeff waits, and then a new squadron of butterflies, different species represented, fly in and consume, until they too silently leave, and this pattern repeats, until about 11:15 A.M., when all leave again . . . and the Bergamot siren is turned off, with no visitors, none. ?.

I’ve enjoyed this field since 1997. This was the most extravagant blanket of Bergamot I’ve ever seen there. Ah, if Renoir had only been there, easel aready . . . .


4 thoughts on “Bergamot Bloom

  1. i would have loved to have seen it…wow, even a hummingbird was around! heard that native folks used this wild bergamot medicinally, but they also used this plant in other ways, too…for magical uses. „your beauties” didn’t whisper, why they particularly loved this flower? ;)


  2. Different butterflies are active at different times of the day. In the morning you may see many butterflies basking in the sun warming up their muscles to fly, or feeding at the flowers and fruits. As the heat of the sun fades later in the day some butterflies, like the Owls, become active while others start to roost. My experience is that the best time to observe butterflies in my area is when the sun is up and there is a light breeze, typically from 9:30am-11:00 am and about 2:30pm-4:30pm. There is not a lot of butterfly activity during the hottest hours of midday.

    ” Plants that experience variation in pollinator visitation rates or fluctuations in weather conditions may be expected to have evolved homeostatic mechanisms that regulate their nectar offerings, thereby providing a more constant reward to the pollinators. ” This is an excerpt from the following abstract, and is about Penstemon, but would apply in part to all nectar rich flowers.


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