What is white and orange and sets my heart a fluttering? No, this isn't a bad "orange- you glad..." joke. It is a realization brought on by a wintery afternoon spent pouring over butterfly photos.
John Howard is my dealer; he is peddling the best medicine I know to cure the wintertime blues: butterflies. Today we rebuilt the Flora-Quest butterfly page with new photos that will enlarge to full size when you click on them. So now the itty-bitties can be seen in full glory.
Falcate Orange-tip, pictured above, is a butterfly I dreamed about for years. Far remove from mid-Ohio, this fellow who sports a flame orange "sun" against a field of snow, was a butterfly I only dreamed of seeing. Shawnee has a steady population of these frenzied fliers, but they are devilishly hard to photograph. If you are lucky enough to chase them, keep in mind they seem to fixate on nectaring on yellow flowers. We have found them most reliably on cinquefoils and dandelions, athough this guy seems to be resting on Pennsylvania Bitter-cress, Cardamine pennsylvanica.
Falcate Orange-tips are highly dimorphic, that is, the females vary greatly from the males. Females show no orange, sporting only heavy marbleing on their winter-white field.
If you want to see more butterflies go to www.flora-quest.com/butterflies.html for your winter fix of sunshine! Better yet, sign up for Jaret Daniels' Butterflies and Botany course. Registrations are now available on the website.