Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Backyard Nature Wednesday: Allium candense with Funereal Duskywing

Three springs ago, I was sitting in my favorite seat under my red oak tree one day when I looked down at my feet and saw a pretty little wildflower growing there. It was an allium, a wild onion, but where most of the wild onions in my neighborhood have white flowers, this one had pink flowers. I thought it was quite pretty so I dug it up and put it in a pot and later transferred it to a bed in my garden, where it has flourished and bloomed for the two springs since then.

Referring to my guidebook, Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi, I determined that the wildling was most likely Allium canadense. Bloom period for the plant is March - May, and just now the plants are full of these pretty, delicate little blossoms.

While I was admiring the plant on Tuesday, I got a bonus treat. A small, dark butterfly landed on the blooms and began to feed. It was a butterfly that I didn't remember ever seeing before, so I ran for my camera to try to get its picture.

I wasn't particularly successful in getting a good picture of the critter. This is the ventral view of it. I tried to get a dorsal view which would have been more definitive for identification purposes, but the butterfly was not cooperative. It flew away every time I tried to get behind it. Ultimately though, in viewing my pictures later and comparing them to the pictures in Butterflies of Houston and Southeast Texas by John and Gloria Tveten, my go-to reference book for butterflies in my garden, I decided that it was a member of the skipper family called the Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis). The dark wings with the white hindwing fringes were diagnostic of that species. This butterfly is in our area from February through December and produces several broods during that time, so it is really rather remarkable that I hadn't encountered it before.

Learning about the wild inhabitants, both plant and animal, that share my backyard is a fascinating and never-ending study, one that encourages me to always keep my eyes open to see what is there.

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I'm linking this post to Gail's "Wildflower Wednesday" at Clay and Limestone. Check out her blog for a list of other participants in this fun monthly meme.

6 comments:

  1. The flower looks amazing. I like purple

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    1. I really like that blossom, too. It's what attracted me when it wild-seeded itself in my yard. The bloom color ranges between pink and purple and it really draws the eye.

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  2. That is a lovely photo of the allium and its visitor. Happy WW and may you have many more butterflies visit.

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    1. The number of butterfly visitors seems to be picking up daily. I love spring!

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  3. What a lovely little allium - we just have the white ones growing wild here.

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    1. We have plenty of those, too - many of them in my "lawn"!

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