Thursday, September 16, 2021

SKYLINE DRIVE, VA - PLANTS, FLOWERS AND THEIR VISITORS

This is Tall blue lettuce (botanical name Lactuca biennis).  Its other names are Blue wood lettuce, Woodland lettuce and Biennial blue lettuce. 
 These were very tall and I have never noticed them before on our drives here.  It can grow from 2 to 7 feet, is a biennial herb and blooms in summer and fall.  Also a species of wild lettuce and technically related to what we think of as lettuce, but that does not mean that tall blue lettuce is edible.  
Tall blue lettuce grows across the United States and Canada, including Alaska and is a common weed.
The following pretty flower is the Spotted knapweed (botanical name Centaurea stoebe).  It also goes by the name Panicled knapweed, a native to Asia and Europe and was introduced here in the 1890s.  Considered an invasive plant. 
A Common Eastern bumblebee is enjoying the same flower below.
The following is called the Bladder campion (botanical name Silene vularis), and its other names are Cowbell and Maiden's tears.  It blooms in spring, summer and autumn and is  native to Europe.
This pretty Eastern black swallowtail is enjoying the nectar from a Field thistle (botanical name Cirsium discolor).  It is an American native, biennial or perennial herb that can grow up to 7 feet tall.  An important food source for bees and butterflies.  The young leaves and stems can be boiled and served as edible greens, according to my plant app.
Another Spotted knapweed

I found a Ladybug on a Milkweed pod.  I recently learned that the name "ladybug" was coined by European farmers who prayed to the Virgin Mary when pests began eating their crops.  After ladybugs came and wiped out the invading insects, the farmers named them "beetle of Our lady."  This eventually was shortened to "lady beetle" and "ladybug".  There is another very interesting and similar story in America regarding seagulls and locusts, which you can read about here.   

NASA even sent a few ladybugs into space with aphids, to see how aphids would escape in zero gravity. I found that information and more at the National Geographic facts page for kids here.
These yellow flowers, a little past their prime, are False sunflowers (botanical name Heliopsis helianthoides).  It's other names are Oxeye sunflower, Smooth oxeye and Early sunflower.  It is a perennial and native to eastern and central North America.
A standoff of sorts.Common Eastern Bumblebee and Spotted knapweed.
A female Easter tiger swallowtail butterfly on Field thistle.
The Tiger swallowtail butterfly is found from southern Florida to Vermont, to as far as the Great Plains and eastern Texas.  A native species of Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.
This is all for now.  There will be other photos from Skyline Drive sometime.  Not sure when I will post them, but I hope you have enjoyed our latest trip.  It's a place we love and enjoy going back to often.



41 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos today. You notice EVERYTHING! The only thing i have heard of are the insects!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank Ginny, I do notice everything :) I was always a very curious child, so said my parents as I smile, because that particular trait has never left me.

      Delete
  2. Interesting post Denise. Those lettuce plants I've never seen.
    The photos are lovely, nice to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Margaret, they were new to me also :) Glad you enjoyed the photos.

      Delete
  3. Beautiful photos. I think my favorite is the butterfly on the thistle. Interesting history of the ladybugs. I didn't know that's how they got their name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ann, I have always enjoyed the ladybugs and was happy to see one. It has been a long time.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Muito obrigado! Estou feliz que você tenha gostado. Um abraço e um bom final de semana :)

      Delete
  5. When a kid,I collected dried milkweed pods & painted them bright red. Added red glitter. Then added string & made them as Christmas tree ornaments. Loved the sweet ladybug today. And never heard (or have seen) this lettuce ... All new info for me, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What fun that must have been Anni :) I would never have thought of that. They must have been bright and festive. You are very welcome and thank you!

      Delete
  6. Hello Denise,
    Beautiful bees, butterflies and blooms. Lovely collection of nature photos.
    Take care, enjoy your day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eileen, appreciate that, thank you and I wish you the same :)

      Delete
  7. Just finished reading some of the earlier posts about your Skyline Drive road trip, Denise. You did have a lot of great experiences like the deer sighting, picnic lunch, and all the butterflies, flowers, bees and great scenery. Ut’s been hears since we have taken this drive, so thanks for the recaps of your own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always fun to get up there Dorothy, there's always something different to see. Happy these brought back the time you were there. Thank you :)

      Delete
  8. Interesting post and some great insect shots, well done. Keep safe Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Diane, glad you liked them. You keep safe also :)

      Delete
  9. every single photo is a WOW moment and they all get A for Awesome today. can't pick just one. the stand off i think we know who will win that one. that lettuce is something I have not seen before

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandra, that's real sweet of you and much appreciated :)

      Delete
  10. We see a lot of knapweed at the lake. I love it. Your butterfly photos are siply beautiful. They're so detailed. Lovely work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jeanie, and being down at your lake sounds lovely :)

      Delete
  11. Awesome photos. Lots of interesting information.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So nice to see the bees, butterflies and blooms.
    A very nice selection of photographs.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes me happy you enjoyed them Jan. Thank you and all the best to you also :)

      Delete
  13. You got some wonderful photos!

    ReplyDelete
  14. So many beautiful photos in this post. My favorites are of the knapweed flowers and butterflies. Did you just keep stopping along the way to take the pictures, or were you at a particular spot? It's probably not that far from me, and I'd love to see some butterflies.
    A friend of mine told me that whenever she sees lady bugs, she puts them on her plants because they feed on the little aphids and such and keep her plants free from infestation. Since then I've been looking for some to put on my plants too, but haven't seen any lately. I used to see them all the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Great-Granny Grandma :) We took these photos in different spots. We'd drive for a while then stop at an overlook. All except for when we saw the deer and the lettuce (two separate places). The traffic was practically non existent so felt it safe to take the photos. Ladybugs are good friends to your garden that's for sure :) I didn't see any in mine this year at all.

      Delete
  15. Blue lettuce, who knew? So many interesting things to see and enjoy capturing with your camera. Happy weekend to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is always something interesting and new to see in nature, never ending :) Thanks Ellen, happy weekend to you also.

      Delete
    2. Hi Ellen, I tried to publish a comment on your blog just now 9-20-21 at 10.18 a.m. Hopefully you are moderating your comments, but just in case it doesn't appear, I tried :) and will try again later.

      Delete
  16. Such lovely photos of nature, and the butterfly is wonderful. It's hard to get a good picture of the butterfly because they flutter about so quickly, but you did!

    The ladybug made me smile, as I have a special place in my heart for the ladybug, and it has special meaning to me. : )

    ~Sheri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sheri, and so glad the ladybug make you smile because of its special meaning in your life :)

      Delete
  17. Denise, I wanted to thank you for these wonderful pictures of the ladybug. I was having a hard beginning of the week with many household chores to take care of, and
    when I saw your pictures, it made me feel better.

    I did a post about the ladybug if you want to check it out sometime. It was on
    September 1, 2016, and the title was "The Tale of the Ladybug." : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this very sweet comment Sheri :) I will go back to your blog and check out your post right away. You made my day when you told me these made you feel better, I am so very happy these made you feel better.

      Delete
  18. All so lovely, especially the butterfly one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sallie, thank you, I loved the butterfly too :)

      Delete

I thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I enjoy reading them very much and always try to return a visit. As I do monitor comments it may take a while for them to appear, even quite late depending on what is going on and how much time I am able to spend on the computer.

I appreciate all who look at my blog, but I am unable to publish businesses or anonymous visitors.