Monarchs Reign

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Lantana camara (Common Lantana)

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Lantana camara (Common Lantana)

A small number of monarchs usually visit my garden in late October but this year I have been spotting one or two at a time for the past month. They disappeared for a couple of weeks during the long rainy period, then returned with the sun.

For much of today I saw four or five dancing around the large lantana.

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Lantana camara (Common Lantana)

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Lantana camara (Common Lantana)

There always seemed to be a single monarch sipping nectar from the passalong dahlia by the back steps but the two other dahlias apparently offered no temptation.

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Dahlia sp.

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Dahlia sp.

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Dahlia sp.

Danaus plexippus (monarch) and Dahlia sp.

A tattered and torn male finally settled atop a seedhead of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) for a rest.

Danaus plexippus (monarch) - male

Danaus plexippus (monarch) – male

The black spot on each hindwing indicates this is a male.

Danaus plexippus (monarch) - male

Danaus plexippus (monarch) – male

24 thoughts on “Monarchs Reign

  1. Pauline

    Wonderful photos! They look so good posing on your Lantana, very colour co-ordinated! You sound like me, running round the garden with a camera in hand, trying to photograph the butterflies.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The monarchs do match that Lantana pretty well. I thought the juxtaposition with the red dahlia was jarring, but the butterfly liked its nectar anyway.

      Reply
  2. Cathy

    Beautiful photos Susie. They look so pretty on your Lantana flowers! It must be such a pleasure to see more Monarchs as they pass through on their long journey south.

    Reply
  3. Beth @ PlantPostings

    Beautiful photos! It’s so wonderful to follow their progress migrating south–by following blogs along the path. We still have a few here in the north, but their numbers are dwindling with the cooler weather and northerly winds.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Beth. I saw monarchs here earlier than ever before but never more than about 5 at a time. Interesting you’re still seeing them up north.

      Reply
  4. Stephi

    Such vivid colors! I love the lantana and wish I could grow them here as a perennial. I think it’s just too cold. The butterflies really look stunning against the flowers.

    Reply
      1. Stephi

        I’ve used it in pots as an annual. Saw it in as mass annual planting at the Chicago botanic gardens so may try it next year. Looks tough to grow from seed.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks! The female monarch is missing those two black spots (one on each hindwing) that the male has. Also the black outlines are thicker on the female.

      Reply

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