One of my favorite parts of summer is the blooming of wildflowers. Colorful Black-eyed Susan's, pale blue Chicory, and so well-named Queen Anne's Lace line the ditches of NW Ohio. Such a perfect array of color against the storm clouds that seem to visit daily at Ottawa NWR.
I have many childhood memories of these wildflowers with my grandmother. Queen Anne's Lace, also called Wild Carrot, was my favorite find. The flowers are so delicate and lacy with a purplish center. We would always cut a few stems and take them back to grandma's kitchen where she would put just a little bit of food coloring in the vase. The next morning when we woke, the flowers would be bursting with color instead of their typical white. I thought it was magic!
The wildflowers you will see at Ottawa NWR are host plants to a variety of butterflies. Some caterpillars, like Monarchs, only eat a specific type of plant- milkweed. Queen Anne's Lace is host to eastern black swallowtails. This time of year, you can sometimes spot the striking caterpillars in the Lace stands.
Here is a list of butterflies and their host plants that you may find in this area. Be sure to look closely!
American Painted Lady: Daisy, Burdock
American Snout: Hackberry
Black Swallowtail: Parsley, Dill, Fennel
Clouded Sulphur: Clover
Cloudless Sulphur: Apple, Clover
Comma: Elm, Hops, Nettles
Common Buckeye: Snapdragon, Loosestrife
Eastern Tailed Blue: Clover, Peas
Gray Hairstreak: Mallow/Hollyhock, Clover, Alfalfa
Mourning Cloak: Willow, Elm, Poplar, Birch, Nettle
Peal Crescent: Aster
Question Mark: Hackberry, Elm, Nettle, Basswood
Red Admiral: Nettle
Red-spotted Purple: Black Cherry, Willow, Poplar
Silver-spotted Skipper: Black Locust, Wisteria
Spicebush Swallowtail: Spicebush, sassafras
Spring Azure: Dogwood, Viburnum, Blueberry, Spirea, Apple
Tawny Emperor: Hackberry
Tiger Swallowtail: Black Cherry, Birch, Poplar, WIllow
Viceroy: Willow, Poplar, Fruit Trees
Zebra Swallowtail: Pawpaw
Nature Tip: If you go looking for caterpillars in nettle patches, please wear protection!