July 30, 2020
What's blooming in Madison this week?
webinar: Wildlife Friendly Native Shrubs and Trees
Hello Garden Friends,

There is another native plant webinar coming up, sponsored by the Native Plant Society of NJ.

It’s free, but registration is required.

Swallowtail on Wild Bergamot
I’ve been seeing a variety of butterflies flitting around town lately. I found this Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus , nectaring on Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa , in the pollinator meadow across the road from the Madison Recreation Complex (MRC).  
If you look closely, you can also see some bumble bees, Bombus species I believe, enjoying the nectar. 
Crescent Butterfly on Milkweed
Nearby, I saw what I think is either a Northern Crescent, Phyciodes cocyta, or a Pearl Crescent, Phyciodes tharos , resting on Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca
You can see lots of common milkweed growing in the pollinator meadow, and around the Madison Rec Complex parking lots. 
Monarch Egg on Milkweed
I found one monarch egg on a plant in the meadow and one on a plant growing between the access road and the MRC parking lot. As you can see, they are usually found on the underside of the leaf, and they are tiny! 
I haven’t been able to find any monarch caterpillars yet this year. If you are interested in following monarch population numbers in the US and in central America, go to  https://monarchwatch.org/blog/ All of the information on the MonarchWatch site https://monarchwatch.org/ is excellent. 
Swallowtail on Milkweed
At the back of the community garden, I saw what is, probably, a giant swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes , nectaring on swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata .  
As you’ve probably guessed already, my butterfly ID skills (not to mention my photography) leave something to be desired. If anyone can confirm or correct the identity of butterflies pictured, I would welcome the feedback! 
Tall/Poke Milkweed
I missed the bloom time on my Tall/Poke Milkweed, Asclepias exaltata , but the seed pods promise a good harvest. 
Butterfly Milkweed
I also have some Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa , a three-foot tall, beautifully showy and well-behaved milkweed, that grows well on dry sunny sites.
Whorled Milkweed
And lastly, I have some whorled milkweed. It grows only about a foot tall and has very fine leaves. It spreads slowly to form a nice ground-cover. 
All of the milkweeds pictured above are native to NJ. 
Of course, all of these milkweed species qualify as monarch caterpillar food, but their favorites (in my experience) are common, swamp and butterfly milkweeds. Swamp and butterfly milkweeds can often be found at local plant nurseries. 
Please contact me at maccarij@rosenet.org if you have questions, comments, or photos of your own to share.

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Be safe and be well.

Best wishes,

Joan Maccari 
Madison Environmental Commission (MEC)

Unless otherwise noted, all photos are (c) Joan E. Maccari.
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