Scabiosa anthemifolia.

Scabiosa anthemifolia, Pincushion Flower.

We were delighted this morning to discover a Monarch butterfly in the garden. We hadn’t been visited by one in several years, since the great decline. The Monarchs require Asclepias — milkweed — to thrive (the larvae absorb toxic steroids, called cardenolides, which protect them from predators), and Roundup has been killing all the milkweed. But more and more people in Northern California are, like us, now growing milkweed, and I hope this visit is a sign the butterflies are on the rebound.

Today’s butterfly was particularly interested in the Scabiosa anthemifolia. Though not a California native (it hails from Africa, Europe and Asia), its nectar is popular with all sorts of our local flying critters.

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