Monday, October 13, 2014

Riverside Place: Monarchs Flocking To Silk Floss Flowers

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 12, 2014.  Dozens of Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) were feeding excitedly on Silk Floss flowers in a huge 30' tree near the Red Car Property.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)  

There were several species of butterflies flying among on the branches, but the Monarchs were the most showy and majestic of the bunch.  You know it's a Monarch  by the polka-dotted body.  Their numbers are in steep decline and their annual migration between Canada & Mexico is monitored closely; their actual migration is endangered.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 12, 2014.  The Silk Floss Tree (Chorisia speciosa) is non-native.  The flowers & Kapock-like seeds are messy to pick up.  But once a year, the drought tolerant South American tree puts on a spectacular show of color, attracting butterflies, birds & bees.  The Wiki page even highlights Monarch Butterflies as pollinators.