Posts Tagged ‘rayflower’


The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is usually found around woodlands, but ventures into gardens and meadows in search of nectar. Although the swallowtail nectars at a number of garden plants, it seems to be especially attracted to coneflowers and liatris, where its broad yellow wings contrast attractively with the purple flowers. In the past few days, however, the swallowtails I’ve seen have been visiting the ligularia, which is now in full bloom.


It’s easy to see how the Tiger Swallowtail comes by its name. It’s interesting that the stripes are not only on the butterfly’s wings, but also extend to its body. Once a swallowtail landed on the ligularia, it would work its way around the circumference of the flower stalk, moving from flower to flower, until it returned to its starting point. It would then move on to a new spire.


Ligularia stenocephala, sometimes called Narrow-spiked Rayflower, does well in partial shade, where it is protected from the hottest part of the day. The long, bottle-brush spikes of yellow flowers can reach 4 to 5 feet in height. It is a hardy, dependable perennial in southern Ontario gardens.


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