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A Tortoiseshell, a Mourning Cloak and a Very Smelly Plant

April 5, 2014

Butterflies are beautiful and fragile – right? Well, they are indeed beautiful, but fragile? There have been butterflies out for a couple of weeks now, but today was the first day that I captured any in a photo. Compton Tortoishell and Mourning Cloak butterflies over winter as adults and emerge in early spring to stake out a “territory” and start the new generation of butterflies. Fragile does not seem adequate to describe a butterfly that survives the winter cold to emerge and survive into June as a reproductive adult.

Seeing the first butterfly of spring is an amazing spring tonic for the soul!

Spring Compton Tortoiseshell

Spring Compton Tortoiseshell

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An early spring Mourning Cloak

The ground is thawing everywhere now and one of the first spring plants to emerge is the Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)- a plant that definitely lives up to its name! You can often smell skunk-like odour of the plants before you come across the bright yellow spathes poking up from the wet ground. Skunk Cabbages provide their own version of a spring tonic – brilliant yellow is definitely a colour that belongs to spring and not to the winter just past.

A Skunk Cabbage emerging from the newly thawed swamp

A Skunk Cabbage emerging from the newly thawed swamp

Skunk Cabbage Spathe

A Skunk Cabbage Spathe

all photos and writing copyright J.A. Siderius

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