This morning when I dropped my son off for class, I noticed this small landscape shrub was flowering.
It is a Dalea sp. (likely Dalea frutescens) that I had noticed previously, so I made a mental note to bring my camera and come back 10 minutes early to take a photo of the flowers.
When I showed up 10 minutes early, this is what I found visiting this small plant:
1. A white checkered skipper butterfly, with lovely hooks at the ends of its antennae
2. A delicate gray hairstreak butterfly
3. Reakirt’s blue butterfly, which appeared to be ovipositing
1. A green sweat bee (Halictidae)
Another shot of the same kind of bee
2. A digger bee with a creamy yellow thorax
3. A small black and white bee
Those were incredibly fast and I have a lot of shots of them flying to another flower.
4. Honey bees were also represented.
I also saw a Polistes paper wasp.
So, let’s recap. In approximately 10 minutes I was able to find three species of butterflies, at least four different kinds of bees, and a wasp visiting this one small plant that barely came up past my knee. Not only was there a great diversity of insects, but also a good quantity of bees. There was a constant stream of insects visiting flowers all over the plant, not just one or two here and there.
Dalea sp. plants are listed as larval food plants for Reakirt’s blues and southern dogface butterflies, making them a fabulous choice for butterfly and pollinator gardens.
Sometimes, just planting the right plant can make all the difference if you want to attract wildlife.
Do Dalea sp. grow where you live? What kind and what do you see visiting them?