P71022Before you send me a comment about it, I am already aware that this is a very bad picture. It was taken with my primitive telephone because it was convenient at the time. This tired looking butterfly might not have waited for me to get the camera. It passed away, seemingly peacefully, right there on the hood of the old Chevrolet. It did not seem to be injured in any way. It probably simply expired like butterflies do after breeding. It is a natural process that the butterfly did not seem to be too distressed about. It gets no obituary because I am not qualified to write one. We are not sufficiently acquainted. I do not even know the specie of this butterfly.

Now that he or she is deceased, I ponder the beauty of these insects. They are so graceful and very colorful. They flutter about like animated flowers. Everyone likes them. Some of us grow flowers that attract them to the garden, and plants to sustain their baby caterpillars.

All flowers are designed to appeal to their pollinators of choice. Those that are pollinated by wind lack color, fragrance and other bling, but are very abundant. Those that are pollinated by flies smell like what flies like. Those that want to attract nocturnal pollinators are fragrant, luminescent (with ultraviolet patterns that are invisible to us), and open at night. Bee pollinated flowers use infrared patterns, and lots of other colors that bees like, and reward them with nectar and superfluous pollen. Well, you get the point. Floral structure, size, patterns, color, fragrance and schedule are all designed around pollinators.

It is difficult to say what butterflies like. They visit such a variety of flowers. Some have abundant pollen. Others have a bit nectar. Some are tiny flowers in dense groups. Others are larger composite (daisy-like) flowers. Butterflies can see both infrared and ultraviolet color, so it is hard to know what they see in flowers.

Some of the clustered small flowers that butterflies like are alyssum, fennel, goldenrod, phlox, Queen Anne’s lace, verbena, yarrow and of course, butterfly bush. They also like flower of the mint family, such as bee balm, lavender, oregano, rosemary and the various sages. Their favorite composite flowers include aster, calendula, cosmos, marigold, coneflower, zinnia and all the daisies and sunflowers.

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