Wildflower Wednesday: Boltonia asteroides
Common names include white doll's daisy, false aster, and false chamomile. This plant is where you can find the biggest variety of pollinators in our garden come early fall. From a pollinator's perspective, pollen and nectar are easy to access on the flower heads, making for an easy meal. I love that I can walk out my front door and see a sea of tiny daisy like flowers alive with bees, butterflies and various other insects.
Let's take a closer look at whose visiting.
Painted Lady butterflies, whose numbers seem to be at a record high this fall, feast on the nectar. These are particularly shy butterflies for every time I walk by or get in close to photograph them they flutter up and away, only to land further out of my eye's (camera's) reach.
Skipper butterflies are about the same size as the flower heads and adore the blooms. If it weren't for their bright coloring they'd blend into the crowd.
Another small butterfly, the red-banded hairstreak can also be found frequently visiting during the warmer times of day.
|Red-banded hairstreak butterfly|
Several diurnal moths call on the blooms. Scape moths, a diurnal moth, that based on my observation in our garden, are particularly attracted to small white blooms, rattlesnake master being one of their summer favorites.
|Ailanthus webworm moth|
Various flies who seek nectar, prefer the open packed flowers Boltonia asteroides provides. They are especially attracted to white and yellow blooms.
European honey bees frantically move from bloom to bloom. It sounds like a very lively hive when I walk by this native beauty as they busily collect pollen on their hind legs. One of my neighbor's must have a bee hive nearby and I am happy to provide a fall nectar source for them.
Various native bees are also busy at work. The easily accessible nectar is especially good for the smaller bees. Bumble bees are the largest bees frequenting the flowers.
Several wasps species can also bee found hanging around. Not especially efficient pollinators because they lack hairy bodies but they have high-energy needs and must refuel frequently.
|Red paper wasp|
With all the pollinators parading around the flowers, it's not surprising to see several spiders set up to catch a meal. They always seem to know just were to hang their web, don't they?
I caught this garden [writing] spider taking a break from her web one early morning.Usually I see her hanging in the center of her web patiently waiting.
The daisy-like flowers are less than an inch wide but are in such mass it makes a very showy statement, even from a far. According to books, it prefers full sun (or partial shade) and wet to moist conditions. However, in our garden it currently grows in full sun on the south facing side of our home. I wouldn't describe the soil as moist and I haven't provided any supplemental water during our dry, hot fall and it has performed outstandingly.
It's critical to continue to support pollinators well into the fall and this is a great all around plant for just that. I have really enjoyed finding all the insects that are using this native perennial.
I'm joining Gail over at Clay and Limestone for her monthly Wildflower Wednesday meme. Be sure to check out all the other great wildflowers from around the globe.