After a slow start, the backyard has been full of butterflies. One of the flashiest is the Monarch. The zinnias draw the Monarchs in to fill up on the nectar. They land on the flat surface of the disk and drink from the individual ray florets surrounding the center. While they are occupied they will often allow close-up viewing for photographs and video.
Another flower they love is Asclepias curassavica commonly known as ‘Silky Gold’ Milkweed. This flower and its leaves are a host plant for the monarch caterpillar.
This milkweed floret is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.
The caterpillars are poisonous to birds and other wildlife after eating the milkweed. The milkweed contains toxic cardenolides which keep some predators, but not all, away.
A week or two ago when I cut back a rose bush I uncovered a monarch chyrsalis on my siding.
Soon I found the newly hatched caterpillar clinging to the wall.
He dropped down to a mint plant and finished drying his wings. After a few hours he took his first flight to the upper branches of a pine tree.
A day or two later I spotted another chrysalis on the underside of a concrete lion statue I have on my patio. I’ll keep a close watch and see if I can witness the miracle as one emerges from the chrysalis.