Kaw Valley Almanac
this week’s Almanac
Some people get confused between poison ivy and virginia creeper this time of year because their leaves both turn red. But virginia creeper has blue berries; poison ivy’s are white.
Salvia azurea is a beautiful blue native sage that blooms in most parts of the state right now. It is not a very aromatic sage, but what it lacks in smell it more than makes up in appearance.
These perennial goldenrods are in full bloom, adding to the profusion of yellow flowers visible this time of year. If you look closer, you’ll also see goldenrod soldier beetles among the flowers.
This perennial sunflower Helianthus grosseserratus, or sawtooth sunflower, is displaying its two rows of bracts, which combined are called the involucre.
If you look closely at the sweet coneflowers, you will see sweat bees pollinating them while eating the nectar. Food for the bees, seeds for the flowers: an ancient win-win arrangement worked out over millions of years of practice.
Tall thistle is a native thistle that provides nectar to a wide number of pollinators, including this great spangled fritillary butterfly.
Douglas County creatively hired some goats to eat down the ragweed on a very steep slope that has been planted back to prairie at Wells Overlook Park. They should have the offending weeds eaten down in 4-7 days.
These sweet coneflowers, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, attest to the ongoing unfolding of yellow perennial flowers which will increase in numbers well into September.
As July moves into August, many warm season grasses and wildflowers have shot up their seedheads, as captured in this sunset silhouette shot.
This colorful and dangerous looking wasp is the great gold digger wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus. It’s a rather harmless nectar eating wasp, as shown here on some rattlesnakemaster that is just beginning to bloom.
The compassplant shoots its stalks 6 or more feet into the air, and many insects, like this bumblebee, are loving it.
If you’re a gardener and see this caterpillar chomping down your dill, by all means let it eat as much as it wants because it will mature into a beautiful swallowtail butterfly.
This time of year it is not uncommon to have isolated storms that dump multiple inches of rain in isolated spots, but little to nothing elsewhere.
Sphinx moths are typically most active around dusk or even at night. This one was caught gathering nectar from the blossoms of the late-blooming Sullivant’s milkweed in broad daylight.
Butterfly milkweed is one of the most spectacular of the native milkweeds blooming now. There are nine butterfly species that eat the milkweed as caterpillars, then drink the nectar as adults, pollinating the flowers on the side.
Look closely and you’ll see a pair of great spangled fritillary butterflies and also a bumblebee. Milkweeds are pollinator magnets.