Holy Thistle

Thistle, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Mishmarot, Israel

Butterflies kept me busy, but their wildflower choices couldn’t be ignored. This thistle, growing against a chain-link fence in the Mishmarot orchards, was a handsome flowerhead.

Prime bloom time, vibrant color, and beacon to swallowtails and many other butterflies, what was the name of this Israeli blossom?

Holy Thistle (Silybum Marianum). Only in the Holy land would you expect such a name. Butterflies heading to Holy thistle to find succor . . . makes sense, No?


Mason Neck State Park’s Mating Zebra Swallowtail Butterflies

Zebra swallowtail butterflies photographed at Mason's Neck State Park, VA

Zebras are uniquely beautiful swallowtail butterflies. They are native to the southeast.

This pair was on a sandy beach at Mason Neck State Park in Virginia.

Both showed vibrant color and were in excellent condition. Reds, blues, black, yellow to whitish-yellow. Oooh.

They remained there for quite a long time. I got down on the sand with them and shot at least 60 exposures. I’m pleased with this one.

Eurytides marcellus‘s range extends from western New York south to Florida. Truth be told I’ve yet to see one in western Pennsylvania.