Butterfly Bushes and the Great Spangled Fritillary

After paddling in the morning last Friday, I went for a hike up near the park to stretch my legs.  My plan was to only be in the woods for a short hike, but then 3 hours and 200+ pictures later, I wandered out of the woods with some really great shots.

Heal All

Prunella vulgaris

Heal All has small blue flowers arranged in a club-like shape and I often find it right along the side of trails.  Named for its medicinal qualities, it also contains vitamins A, C, and K as well as flavonoids and rutin which are known for their antioxidant properties.  It is also native to Europe and Asia as well as North America, and all of the Heal All plant is edible.

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly

Speyeria cybele

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies are plentiful around Little Sewickley Creek, even though taking their picture can be difficult since they rarely sit still for long.  But they are beautiful and when their wings are vertical, they expose bluish-silver spots that are a color unlike any other I've ever seen in nature.

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed, a member of the same genus as Milkweed (Asclepias), has the most beautiful orange flowers that cluster at the top of the plant.  As the common name suggests, it is a favorite of butterflies not only for is striking orange color, but it also produces large amounts of nectar that bees, hummingbirds, and other insects favor.

Spotted Touch Me Not

Impatiens capensis

Spotted Touch Me Nots and Pale Touch Me Nots are both prevalent in our area and both have large "horn" shaped flowers.  Both species Touch Me Nots are also alike in that their name derives from their seed pods that burst open at the slightest touch.

Black Rat Snake 

Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta

This has definitely been the year of the snake for me, since I've come across more than 10 so far this year.  And I found this little Black Rat Snake laying across the trail, so I encouraged him to move off the trail with my hiking stick.  As you can see, once he got to a defensive position, he turned and became highly agitated.  But he did let me get a few good pictures so I left him alone before he got too irritated.

Oswego Tea

Monarda didyma

Scarlet Beebalm, also known as Oswego Tea, is one of several types of bergamots native to our area, although the bright red of Oswego Tea is the most beautiful and my personal favorite.  As its common name suggests, Oswego Tea was yet another local plant heavily utilized by Native Americans for a variety of ailments and according to wikipedia, it was even used to treat excessive flatulence... haha.

White Avens

Geum canadense

My auto focus has a hard time with small flowers, especially white ones, so this is the first time I've gotten good pictures of White Avens.  Many people consider White Avens to be a weed, but I like it and it seeds are the "hitchhiker" variety that hook to fur, feathers, and clothing to spread them far and wide.

More Pictures: 

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa

Oswego Tea 

Monarda didyma

Birdsfoot Trefoil (Non-Native)

Lotus corniculatus

Common Milkweed

Asclepias syriaca

Deptford Pink  (Non-Native)

Dianthus armeria

Day Lily (Non-Native)

Hemerocallis fulva