More Butterfly Garden Pictures

I’m a big proponent of butterfly gardening, and my sister asked to see more butterfly photos, so here is a set of pictures of butterflies from the last couple years.  Plant geek that I am, I don’t just try to get a particular shot, no.  Don’t forget that I’m trained in Entomology as well as Horticulture. 

I want to have a picture of a monarch feeding on Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’.  And on Echinacea pallida.  And Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’.  And so on.  Multiply by the numerous butterfly species in Michigan and the great number of butterfly attractive plant varieties, and you have a multi-generational hobby/obsession in the making…  This image libraryfeatures swallowtail butterflies (Papillio species).

I take a lot of plant pictures (both professionally and personally), and try to take lots of butterfly pictures.  They can be challenging to capture.  Patience helps, and I typically use moderate zoom and burst mode to capture my best shots.  A “sports” setting on a non-burst camera can work, as well.

This is why I like a good burst mode.  A female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) feeding on annual Verbena in the Raker trial gardens. Females have blue spots along their “tails” (hind wings), while males have few blue spots.

The female of this species also has a dark morph, seen here feeding on Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’.  (Awwwww…  How appropriate.)  And another typical female feeding on Asclepias incarnata in a native plant rain garden.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius) anyone?  First, caterpillars collected from a parsley plant in the Raker trial gardens a few years back. That’s the kind of “pest” you take home and try to rear to adulthood, not something to squish!  They feed on Apiaceae (Umbel) family plants, including Queen-Anne’s-lace (aka wild carrot), parsley, dill, and fennel, and they are not uncommon in home gardens. I’ve reared these successfully, and it’s very interesting to watch them pupate and emerge.  And an adult feeding on the straight species of Echinacea purpurea.

And we’ll finish off with a Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) feeding in the Echinacea row trials in the Raker gardens.  This is all a single individual that was not camera shy and spent quite a bit of time sampling the numerous varieties in the trial.  Sorry, no specific Echinacea variety names on these images (that info was lost in my photo library disaster).