Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall beauties.

The white mistflower (Agaratina havanensis) is blooming in my garden, in a profusion not seen here before. The mistflower is native from Central Texas south into Mexico. In and of itself, it is beautiful when in bloom. But when butterflies flutter all around it, drawn by its heady fragrance wafting on a breeze . . . well, it becomes sublime.

Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
is the most common visitor.
I've never seen this butterfly here before;
it is a bordered patch (Chlosyne lacinia 
adjutrix). The adjutrix  is a Texas subspecies.

I have spent time the past two days sitting on a pile of rocks next to this bush with camera in hand. I can’t really describe how fabulous this is: perched two feet away from buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies, including some new-to-me types, all so intent on this little bush with its multitude of tiny white blooms that they quickly forget I am here.  They are busy harvesting the last nectar of the year before cooler weather arrives.

Queens (Danaus gilippus) are frequent visitors on our blue mistflower; guess they like this, too!
This was one of those transcendent natural experiences.

Well, I'm not sure but I think
this is an American painted lady
(Vanessa virginiensis).

The Texan crescent (Anthanassa 
texana) is new to me, also.

Have you ever had one of those experiences? While outside somewhere, you happen upon something so cool, so beautiful, so interesting that you will never forget it? For me, it usually happens when it is very quiet and I am alone.

Twenty years ago we lived in the middle of a 10-acre hay pasture. Bluebonnets covered the pasture in the spring; it was absolutely beautiful. One quiet day in early summer I stepped outside and heard the oddest popping sounds all around me. I stopped and looked around, trying to determine the origin of the sounds. I saw nothing, but quickly realized that I was hearing bluebonnet seedpods popping open all over the pasture. I stood there listening with a big grin on my face, looking over the pasture in amazement. Yes, I still remember that moment.

My first i.d. of this one, too:  pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos).
This tattered fellow appears
to be a variegated fritillary
(Euptoieta claudia).

This memory of communing with and observing butterflies on the mistflower will stay with me, also. When I’m looking out the window on a cold gray winter day, wishing for summer, I will unpack this memory, and relive those joyous moments, sitting with butterflies under a warm November sun.


  1. Hasn't it been a glorious fall? I'm spotting new species, too, like the common mestra. We've had American ladies and painted ladies. Beautiful!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I was pleased, especially considering I'm using a point & shoot camera.

  3. Yes, I have those moments in nature too -- so unforgettable. White mistflower is a fall favorite of mine. I love the spicy fragrance and the butterflies too of course.

    1. I want to plant more, after seeing this year's display!

  4. What a pretty plant, and with a fragrance too. I know the sort of vivid memories you are talking about. I recall a snowy night walking in lamplight... I love the changing seasons!

    1. This has been the most beautiful fall here. I'm sorry to see the cooler weather arrive!