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Butterflies in the Garden

Many native butterflies visit our mostly native garden.

Some are so small that you might not even notice them unless you remain still for a while and see them flitting among the plants.

The California hairstreak Satyrium californica has a wingspan of only 1 to 1 1/2. Their food consists of nectar from wild buckwheat, milkweed and sulphur flowers, among other flowers.

Here it is perched on the leaves of the Berzerkeley salvia shrub.

Their flight period is May through August.

Umber skippers Poanes melane are found in California, southern Arizona and the highlands of Mexico and Central America. Elsewhere they are considered rare.

Their caterpillar hosts are various grasses such as tufted hairgrass Deschampsia caespitosa and California brome Bromus carinatus.

Their wingspan is 1 1/4 - 1 3/8 inches.

They first appear in our garden in late April and are constant visitors through October.

They feed on flower nectar.

This umber skipper is resting on the flower spike of an Agastache mexicana ‘Sangria’“Mexican Giant Hyssop”.

I've seen very few painted ladies Vanessa cardui this year, compared to the past two years, but here is one resting on the California fuchsia Zauschneria californica plant.

The species resides in warmer areas, but sometimes migrates from north to northwest in California. Weather patterns, such as El Nino seem to affect their migratory behavior.

Their larvae host plants are in the aster family, including sunflowers.

Cabbage white butterflies Pieris rapae have a broad habitat range from Central Canada to northwest Mexico. They are usually the first butterflies to emerge in the Spring.

Their food source is nectar from a wide variety of plants including mint, dandelion and asters.

This cabbage butterfly blends in so well with the leaf on a lambs' ear plant.

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