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Posts Tagged ‘bee balm’

GREATspangledfritillary

The Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) is a common and widespread butterfly. Great Spangled Fritillaries have just one brood each season, but are in flight through the summer. The males emerge first, with females following. The eggs the female lays hatch into tiny caterpillars that hibernate through the winter. When they emerge in the spring, they feed on native violets, their larval foodplant. Great Spangled Fritillaries are named for the metallic silvery-white spots that spangle the underside of the hind wing. This individual appears to have had a narrow escape from a predator.

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It is nectaring at a monarda flower. Purple monarda (Monarda fistulosa) is an easy-to-grow native plant that is popular with pollinators. There is also a red variety (Monarda didyma). Both make attractive garden plants that hummingbirds, bees and butterflies all appreciate. In fact, one of the common names for monarda is bee balm. Monarda is also referred to as bergamot because it has a scent that is similar to that of the bergamot orange, which is used in Earl Grey tea. Monarda is a member of the mint family and was used by natives to brew a hot drink, which is the source of yet another name, Oswega tea plant.

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