Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/14/2016


Photo taken on June 30, 2016


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Keywords

macro
Milkweed
Calgary
FZ200
annkelliott
Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
Showy Milkweed
flower cluster
Asclepias speciosa Torr
friends' garden
FZ200#3
© Anne Elliott 2016
30 June 2016
Alberta
Canada
botany
pink
nature
flora
flower
flowers
garden
plant
close-up
outdoor
leaves
summer
foliage
buds
used by Monarch butterflies


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Loved by Monarch butterflies

Loved by Monarch butterflies
The upload problem on Flickr seems to have been solved - for now. Couldn't upload my daily three very early this morning and I have been out for the whole day. Got home late afternoon/early evening and discovered that, yay, I could upload my photos. Kind of too late in the day really, but thought I would post them anyway.

Yesterday evening, friend Dorothy phoned and asked if I'd like to go with them to Kananaskis for the day today. A last minute decision - and of course I said yes! What a great day we had in the mountains, with perfect weather and so many mushrooms to keep all three of us happy. The highlight for me was when we saw Strawberries and Cream fungi / Hynellum peckii, my favourite fungi. Quite a few of them, too. Thanks so much, Dorothy and Stephen, not just for today, but for also helping to make my wait for my new car to arrive, easier!

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On 30 June 2016, I just made it in time for a botany visit to our main naturalist leader's home and garden. He and his wife have an amazing garden, full of so many kinds of flowers, including a good variety of native plants. One of my favourites is Showy Milkweed - love the cluster of individual flowers growing on a rounded head. These plants have spread over a lot of the front garden. All they need now is for Monarch butterflies to fly a bit further north than they usually do and discover this little bit of butterfly heaven. In 2012, though, it was very unusual, as people were seeing a few of these amazing butterflies in Alberta, including in Calgary. I even got to see and photograph a few Monarch caterpillars in this garden in July 2012, for the very first and last time. Milkweed does not normally grow in Calgary, though we have seen a plant or two growing in the wild at one location in the city.

"Monarchs only use milkweed for their eggs - no other plant will do. There is a good reason for this. Milkweed is poisonous and the caterpillars absorb the poison into their bodies, thus making them immune to predators." From edmontonnaturalizationgroup. The National Geographic has an amazing, fascinating video of the life story of these spectacular butterflies - couldn't find a link to it, unfortunately.

edmontonnaturalizationgroup.org/blog/2012/08/13/wildflowe...

""Pollination in this genus is accomplished in an unusual manner, as the pollen is grouped into complex structures called pollinia (or "pollen sacs"), rather than being individual grains, as is typical for plant pollen. The flower petals are smooth and rigid, and the feet of visiting insects (predominantly large wasps, such as spider wasps, which visit the plants for nectar) slip into notches in the flowers, where the sticky bases of the pollinia attach to the feet, pulling the pollen sacs free when the pollinator flies off. Bees, including honey bees only gather nectar from milkweed flowers, and are generally not effective pollinators despite the frequency of visitation.

Species in the Asclepias genus grow their seeds in pods. These seed pods contain soft filaments known as either silk or floss. The filaments are attached to individual seeds. When the seed pod ripens, the seeds are blown by the wind, each carried by several filaments." From Wikipedia.

Our leader also has a large vegetable garden. One thing that always fascinates me is the Egyptian Walking Onion. Each one seems to take on its own artistic shape and I love to photograph these - both fascinating and quite beautiful.

In the afternoon of this day, we experienced a huge rain and hail storm. Fortunately, it cleared up in time to go on Don Stiles' annual evening Bluebird route trip. I always look forward to going with Don on his nest box route, checking on a few of the boxes and finding either Bluebird or Tree Swallow eggs or babies. Don records all the information about numbers and dates, and also demonstrates how he carefully bands the young birds. Thanks, as always, Don, for an enjoyable evening outing and thank you for all the many, many years (must be somewhere around 35?) you have spent helping to preserve our beautiful Bluebirds. We all enjoyed seeing the various other bird species during the evening, too.

Mitch Seaver has particularly liked this photo


Comments
Mitch Seaver
Mitch Seaver
Excellent macro!
23 months ago.