Skipper On Buttonbush

Unidentified Skipper Butterfly on Buttonbush photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We were searching late in the season Buttonbush, growing at the edge of Pond 2A at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia. Buttonbush is a native wetland plant whose blooms are excellent nectar bars for many butterflies. It’s just as wonderful to see it growing in Akeley Swamp in far western New York State as it is to see it 960 miles south in the Georgia Piedmont.

I set it in my natives garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . . . and just 3 days ago purchased some healthy young Buttonbush at Nearly Natives Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia.

The skipper here? Wouldn’t it be nice if one of you shared a definitive ID?

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Rector, PA

I find that Lobelia Cardinalis is quite disarming. Working my way along a small pond in Rector, Pennsylvania, there it was. I don’t know about other men, but a certain red lipstick and these spectacular wildflowers evoke the same OOOh!  I also notice that all heads turn when a handsome male Cardinalis Cardinalis bird posts itself on a nearby branch.

A wetland plant, this relative of the Lobelias that we might buy at the local excellent nursery can be found in most states.

The flower’s nectar must offer a cocktail of nutritious sweets; as hummingbirds favor these brilliant red blooms. Do butterflies? I have seen Eastern Black Swallowtails drink the flower’s nectar, and are able to overcome the challenge of the length of the tubular flowers. One day I must return and park myself on a folding chair and photograph an Eastern Black on a cardinalis  bloom.

The above is solely a clinical observation of the flower’s physiological effects.