Today's Flowers: Monarchs On ThistleThis week's edition of Today's Flowers features 2 very common, at least where I live, yet very important components in the web of life.
Butterflies, along with bees, are important because they help to propagate vegetation on the planet by pollinating plants. While they are searching a flower for nectar, which is the food that butterflies and bees eat, pollen often gets stuck on a leg or a wing or some other part of the insect. When it goes of to the next flower in search of more food some of the pollen will often fall of which pollinates the flower there by allowing the plant to produce seeds. The monarch butterfly is probably one of the most common and by far the most recognizable butterfly in North America.
The plant is a thistle plant. There are several different types of thistle that grow in Minnesota. Although thistles are considered an invasive weed that often will crowd out other plants and flowers, they provide nectar for bees and butterflies and their seeds are an important food source for many small birds. On several occasions I have had the opportunity to photograph goldfinch opening up the thistle seed pods and pulling the seeds out by the thin white strands that are meant to carry the seeds in the wind.