The young monarchs in their fields of gold

Winterthur, Delaware on September 19, 2021

Legacy of Henry Francis du Pont, 1880-1969, American

 

 

 

On the other side of the road from a pinetum in the tended gardens and park at Winterthur, are meadows where plants grow untended.

 

 

 

 

At this time of year, these fields are yellow with masses of goldenrod.

Interspersed with much less milkweed and purple ?common thistle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milkweed flowers of a large-flower variety in mid- and late June, 2021.  And fragrant also.

 

 

 

Large seed pod of this same variety of milkweed in this field on September19 this year

 

 

 

In its field of gold is a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant.  It undoubtedly hatched from an egg laid on a leaf of this milkweed plant.

 

Monarch caterpillars can only eat the leaf of milkweed plants.

 

 

 

 

Lying on a leaf of another milkweed plant, a dead lantern fly. 

I don’t know why it died except that milkweed contains toxins with which very few insects have evolved to deal.

 

The lantern fly is an invasive, destructive, if very beautiful species which we have been asked to kill on sight.  It eats woody and non-woody plants.

 

 

 

 

 

The seedpods of the milkweed explode for seed distribution because their silken, white, seed-bearing floss expand at this time of year. 

 

It has been documented that such floss was used in WWII by the US in flotation devices to replace material cut off by Japan. 

 

 

 

 

Milkweed bugs feed on milkweed seeds without destroying the plant itself. 

Their bright colours indicate that they themselves are as poisonous as the milkweed itself.

 

 

 

Milkweed plants have declined in number on the east coast of the United States.  Anyone who can has been asked to plant it.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, on the edge of the field, a catalpa

 

 

 

 

its long beanpods, changing from green to old-blood red to brown, hanging directly downwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign to Persephone: get ready to descend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

But that is a different story. 

 

 

 

 

Different and the same as the cycles of this meadow with its grasses and flowers and insects and small mammals; 

 

the meadow golden at this hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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