Stay or leave?

The thistles are some of my favorite plants. In fact the genus Cirsiums were the first plants that I tried by hand at keying. So I am fond of them. Additionally it is a magnet for insects! FYI, most of these photos were taken in just a fifteen minute time span in our yard. 🙂

Small bees can often be seen on the thistles!
Bumble Bees (Bombus). This one had been sharing its love with yellow pollinated plants.
The Giant Swallowtail often frequents the thistle!

Sorry not a very good photo of the Pipevine Swallowtail. But it was stopping in. 😉
There has been a ton of the Sachems visiting!

The Black Swallowtail!

The Rove Beetle (Philonthus rufulus) was stuck in the resin. Yum for the plant! At least that is my theory. Some plants do extract nutrients from insects that get stuck in their resin and not just the sundews to mention one species. So why not thistles?
Before I left the yard a Mexican Yellow popped in for a little nectar!

A few days ago I found a Painted Lady chrysalis on the thistle out our back door. I brought it in to join the zoo. 🙂 In fact I found it while UV’ing to look for hornworms on my tomatoes. And yes it glowed. No hornworns but very pleased to find this!

I had seen a fairly large Painted Lady larva in this shelter previously on the thistle.

So how appropriate that it decided it was time to emerge this morning with my thistle theme! However it may have been thinking…stay or leave? Certainly is cooler in the house. 🙂

Ant royalty is about both nature and nurture

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


  1. No need to wander far from home to find wonder – esp like the painted lady chrysalis – beautiful

  2. Your yard is Swallowtail Nation right now! We had a raft of black swallowtail cats on our dill and fennel. Now there are chrysalises all over our tomato cages.

    1. We have a lot of birds in our yard, but none ever seem to visit our veggie garden. Maybe because it’s located up next to the house.

  3. Very pretty chrysalis!
    We have hoards of Bordered patch cats and adults now. And many Queens. The Bordered Patch lays its eggs in a mass usually on Cowpen Daisy and the cats stay together through an instar or two. Often I find a bunch of shed skins and skeletonized leaves. It is a smaller butterfly but so beautiful. Did see a Gulf Frit and a Monarch yesterday.

      1. That is what they used in my Carrollton yard. Down here it is Cowpen Daisy mostly but also others. It is so common down here. Love them.

    1. Funny you have hordes of Queens but yeah for you!. I have only found one cat here ever on Two flower milkvine. 🤷🏻‍♀️

      1. I rarely see Queen cats. Once maybe in the last 5 years. Some butterflies migrate in like the Lyside Sulphur we had tons of last year but their host plant is not here.

  4. Beautiful!! Thistles are one of my growing goals for next year. The only ones I’ve seen nearby in town are the invasive ones, but outside of town and at the prairie parks are native ones.

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