Queen of the blue mistflowers

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Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii)

It has been a while since I posted anything on this blog, and so now we can compute just how long “a while” is.

Of course, this picture was taken several months earlier when I was fooling around with a different camera and lens, and trying to transfer learning between one of two systems (in alphabetical order: Canon and Nikon) without recourse to written instruction. This picture appeared on at least one Native Plant Society of Texas blog, and reappears in these pages because it is quicker and easier than processing some other photo.

Sad to say, the result shown here was probably more a matter of luck than transfer of skill. But it is skill in choosing native plants appropriate to the region that results in the Queen (Danaus gilippus) and Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterflies that have been seen recently. I did manage to get a shot of the Monarch, but haven’t gone after the Queens yet – it has been windy, and they rarely stay still for long. Why a Monarch is in my neck of the woods in mid-July seems to be one of those outliers to the norm mysteries for which the answer may never be known for sure.

Agraulis vanillae Gulf Fritillary Butterfly larva

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Agraulis vanillae Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Passiflora sp

Agraulis vanillae Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Passiflora sp


While the Gulf Fritillary, as the name implies, is native to the area surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, but its range actually extends far beyond that. It is found as far south as Argentina and as far north as San Fransisco, according to Wikipedia.

Here it is on one of the Passiflora vines, one which is not native to the part of Central Texas where I live. It seems that one cannot find locally native plants unless one digs them up, which can’t be both ethical and legal, or manages to find some that have gone to seed and from which a small taking of seed would not endanger reproduction in the natural state.


Glandularia bipinnatifida – Prairie Verbena

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Glandularia bipinnatifida - Prairie Verbena

Glandularia bipinnatifida – Prairie Verbena

Also known as Dakota Mock Vervain, these low-lying forbs start blooming in March and continue through December.  They are attractive to butterflies as well as people, and are drought tolerant. Appropriate in the wildflower meadow as well as butterfly or ornamental garden.


Bignonia capreolata – Crossvine

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Bignonia capreolata - Crossvine

Bignonia capreolata – Crossvine

The Crossvine is blooming, draped across the Eastern Redbud, and it seems to be handling the drought with less stress than the Redbud.   The blooming period is from March through May. It attracts hummingbirds (if there happen to be any in the suburban desert) and butterflies that feed on the nectar. Which reminds me – I saw my first Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) of the season over the weekend (Saturday to be exact). Oddly enough, it was feeding on the Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora, but apparently not long enough for me to grab the camera, Also spotted a couple of Red Admiral  (Vanessa atalanta) butterflies yesterday and did grab my camera, but the creature wouldn’t settle down long enough for me to get a shot. So here’s the Bignonia capreolata instead.

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

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Lupinus texensis - Texas Bluebonnet

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

While most instances of the state flower in my yard are still scrawny and small rosettes thanks to the continuing drought in Central Texas, this example has started to put out blossoms in the area between the curb and the sidewalk. Conversations with other native plant advocates have indicated that some bluebonnets have been putting out new blossoms for a couple of weeks now.

The normal bloom period of this annual is from March through May, so it appears to be right on schedule this year. It is especially attractive to native bees and is frequented by butterflies as well. It serves as a larval host for the Hairstreak and Elfin butterflies.

Colias eurytheme- Orange Sulphur

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Colias eurytheme- Orange Sulphur

Colias eurytheme- Orange Sulphur

Here’s a somewhat larger Sulphur butterfly on the same plant.

Vanessa cardui – Painted Lady

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Vanessa cardui - Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui – Painted Lady

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