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For our mystery seed post last week we had 5 seeds from flowers that are great nectar plants for butterfly gardens.

And the mystery seeds were (drum roll)....

1. Echinacea - coneflowers (perennial)

pink-coneflowers(Public domain photograph by Bobbi Jones at PublicDomainPictures.net)

Butterflies love aster relatives with flat flower heads to stand on. These large, robust, and nectar-rich flowers attract swallowtails, painted ladies, fritillaries, and skippers, among others.

The spiky seed heads are also sources of food for birds.

2. Asclepias tuberosa - butterfly flower, butterfly milkweed (perennial)

butterfly-weed-milkweed

Milkweed plants attract the so-called milkweed butterflies, like monarchs and queens, but also certain coppers, pipevine swallowtails, and hairstreaks.

Butterfly weed is also a potential larval food plant for milkweed butterflies.

3. Zinnias (annual)

mix-of-zinnias-87

Another aster relative, zinnias attract swallowtails, coppers, hairstreaks, painted ladies, mourning cloaks, and fritillaries.

 

4. Aquilegia sp. -Columbine (perennial)

very-nice-yellow-columbine0218

Columbines are useful nectar sources for many butterflies, including swallowtails and skippers, as well as hummingbirds.

The plants are also host to Columbine duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) larvae.

5. Tagetes sp.-Marigolds (annual)

marigold-flowers

regular-marigold-garden

Marigolds tend to attract smaller butterflies, like skippers and whites.

Our mystery seeds from last week come from a plant that probably most people will recognize.

They are from the common marigold, species in the genus Tagetes. The most common form, Tagetes erecta, is from Central and South America, although sometimes it is mistakenly called "African marigold."

The flowers are generally in the yellow, orange and red range of the color spectrum.

The leaves are deeply in cut, giving a lacy appearance.

They also have a distinctive fragrance.

Did you grow any marigolds this year? Take your children out and see if your marigolds have any seeds. Let us know what you find.