Show in this brief film is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus linnaeus) nectaring on Cupplant (Silphium perfoliatum). Because of all the rain we had earlier in the year, this year’s Cupplant in my prairie is much taller than its usual 6 feet. It has to be all of 10 feet and in some areas, I’ll bet closer to 12 feet. But, as usual, it has been an insect and bird magnet. See Monarch and Goldfinch
A member of the Aster family, it has sturdy square stems that my dear, dear friend Elmer Krushinske used as a walking stick. Its large leaves cup to the stem and catch the dew from the morning (or the rain) and provide a welcome watering spot for many a small creature.
Their root system is unbelievable. It is has a central taproot and many shallow rhizomes which help the plant colonize fairly quickly. It prefers moist locations, but does pretty well in moderate soil.
Many years ago my Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Chapter held a plant rescue in the Oshkosh, Wisconsin area. It was a five-year old prairie that had been seeded to maintain the soil until such time as an addition would be needed for a local clinic. We worked all summer salvaging native plants, so by Labor Day (the last day we could work), there were many holes. There at the bottom of a uniquely big, deep hole was a tiny Cupplant starting to create new life. That night my dreams brought me the joyful story of that same little Cupplant breaking its way through a blacktop parking lot and confounding the maintenance people forever.