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Mistflower and monarch butterflies

Mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum, is one of the native perennials highly regarded as nectar food for monarch butterflies. The typical life cycle of monarchs includes four flights each year, the third in July-August, and the last September-October that produces a different butterfly, capable of the long migration south. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, the leaves furnishing food for the growing caterpillars.

The adult butterflies get their energy and maintenance food from the flowers of milkweed as well as many other late summer flowers, such as Cardinal Flower, Blue Vervain, Wild Bergamot, New York Ironweed, goldenrods, bonesets. Plants with massive heads of tiny flowers are favorites of butterflies since they can easily collect nectar from the closely packed blossoms, not using energy to fly to other nearby plants.

Mistflower is an ideal candidate, blooming from July through October to feed insects from late summer into fall. This native perennial is topped with masses o...

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