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Liatris mucronata with Strymon melinus

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Liatris with hairstreak

Liatris with hairstreak

Here we have a Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus perched on the blooms of Liatris mucronata aka Gayfeather.  The Gray Hairstreak covers much of North America and as far south as Venezuela. It is distinguished by the red spot on its hindwing. One interesting thing about this butterfly is that it bobs its hindquarters up and down while the head remains fairly still, sucking nectar from the flowers. Click on the image anf look closely at the larger image with more detail and you’ll see what I am talking about. This picture was taken July14 at Taylor Park near Lake Granger and shows one of the few Liatris that were actually blooming at the time.

 

Liatris – Gayfeather

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Liatris - Gayfeather

Liatris – Gayfeather

Here’s another shot of the Liatris mucronata in my front yard. Again, up close and personal and looking at a small portion of a spike, showing the needle-like leaves and the flowers. I feel confident in calling this one L. mucronata since that’s what the Wildflower Center had on its label when I bought it, assuming I bought it there…I will be posting some more Liatris in the next few days for which the species is not as certain, since they were found in the wild and mostly they weren’t in bloom, making it more difficult to identify them.

 

Liatris mucronata – Gayfeather

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Liatris mucrinata - Gayfeather

Liatris mucrinata – Gayfeather

Liatris is in bloom, and this spiky looking plant doesn’t mind the heat, providing nectar for a variety of insects. Last year, it was one of the few plants that stood up to the series of 100 degree days that we had. This is a close-up of the blossoms, which form along the sides of the spikes. While the photo gives you the details, it doesn’t convey the overall shape of the plant and flowers.  That will have to wait for another day.

Drought Defiant Gayfeather

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ASTE-Liatris mucronata - Gayfeather -detailThere are relatively few plants holding up to the current drought and heat. One of these is Liatris mucronata, Gayfeather. Although not as lush as in previous years, this perennial still has attractive purple blossoms and has not wilted in the heat.

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