Hundreds of butterflies could be seen in one day with many of those on knapweed. Even though it is non-native butterflies are dependent on it for nectaring. (Even White Sweet Clover, as bad as it is, attracts many butterflies as well.)
A couple of times last summer, I encountered a nice young lady who was surveying for butterflies on Spotted Knapweed and she mentioned that there was a possibility that the weed would be removed in the future. I had hoped that it would never occur, and was shocked to know that the knapweed was actually being sprayed or cut yesterday (May 30).
Did she not see the hundreds of butterflies of many species that used the plant? I am sure she did, but higher authority appears to have ignored the findings or was completely ignorant of how important nectaring sources are for butterflies. It has been many many years since we had such an influx and diversity of butterflies such as we did last season. It was really fun to go to Pelee each time to see what one could find.
I am sure there are other things of greater importance to deal with than spraying a few patches of Spotted Knapweed. It is certainly a costly endeavour as those parks employees are undoubtedly well paid.
Is something else going to be planted in its place? It would be nice to have a native species in its place. Without the knapweed, there will be fewer butterflies stopping off. There are some other nectaring sources, but the absence of knapweed will make a significant difference in the numbers of butterflies we may see.
Here is a series of less common species of butterflies I have photographed on Spotted Knapweed over the last couple of years at Point Pelee. Of course there were many others!
|Wild Indigo Duskywing|
|Dukes' (?) Skipper|