BUTTERFLY WEED is a bushy plant belonging to the milkweed family and sports clusters of bright-orange flowers. Butterflies are attracted to its bright color and bountiful production of nectar. It is the larval food of the the queen and monarch butterflies and also attracts hummingbirds, bees and other insects. It can be found in fields, meadows and along roadsides.
It is also commonly referred to as orange milkweed and chigger flower. Because Native Americans used to chew on its tough root to treat pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments, it is sometimes called pleurisy root.
GREAT SPANGLED FRITILLARIES are medium sized butterflies that can fly very quickly. They are very similar to the Aphrodite fritillary but can be distinguished by the wide, yellow band between the silver spangles on the underside of the hind wing. This band is much narrower on the Aphrodite.
These butterflies nectar on milkweeds, thistles, Joe-Pye weed, red clover, alfalfa, dogbanes and many other midsummer wildflowers. They mate in June or July, and the female lays her eggs in August or September.
The Delaware Water Gap NRA is on of the best places to see these beautiful butterflies in the NY, NJ, PA tristate area.