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Kentucky Color: Zebra Swallowtail and Butterfly Weed

June is a great time to slowly drive back country lanes and byways to see colorful milkweed and all the butterflies its beautiful flower attracts For next earlier Kentucky Color, see Kentucky Color - Kousa Dogweed
Click on headline for Kousa Dogwood Weekend story plus photo(s)

By Billy Joe Fudge

This Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly is feeding on nectar produced by, of all things, a Butterfly Weed. Hard to decide which is the most glorious, the butterfly or the weed.

This is the summer incarnation. Basically you can tell by the stripes. The spring version has wings which appear to be white with black stripes and the summer has black wings with white stripes. Also the tail part of the rear wings are mostly white on the summer butterfly and they are only white tipped on the spring.

Notice the scalloped edges of the rear wings. This is somewhat unique to this species of butterfly.

Butterfly Weed is the top of the line butterfly attractor. Just take off on a leisurely drive on any rural road and when you see Butterfly Weed I would almost bet the farm that you'll see butterflies in a feeding frenzy in and around the area. I counted 17 different individuals and four different species during this photo shoot.

You will be more likely to see Zebras alongside meadows near creeks and streams. -Billy Joe Fudge

This story was posted on 2010-06-10 07:16:40
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Kentucky Color: Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Milkweed

2010-06-10 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge, retired District Forester, Kentucky Division of Forestry. Adair Co., KY
Billy Joe Fudge says it's hard to decide which is more glorious, the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly, or it's gorgeous host, Milkweed.

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Kentucky Color: Butterfly weed seems more plentiful, these days

2010-06-11 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Amandaville, Cumberland Co., KYBilly Joe Fudge thinks that he sees a lot more butterfly weed, or milkweed, in this area than he did when he was a kid. These beautiful specimens were photographed near Hopewell Acres, the Chowning farm located in the bend of Crocus Creek. That's good, he thinks. The flower is among late springs' prettiest, and the butterfly weed flowers draw dozens of butterfly species.
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