Late summer sippers

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail to brighten your day! He’s happy those zinnias hold their flowers a long time.

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One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Do you recognize this plant in full fall bloom?

Hint: It’s now four feet tall after its summer’s growth.

Give us a guess in the comments!

~~~

We had a correct guess today–this is Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis.

It is the wild relative of the garden annual plant Impatients that you humans buy for your shady yards. But guess what? The wild jewelweed seeds prolifically enough that it should come back every year–if your ground is moist and the light is set-shady.

The beautiful orange flowers are visited by many insects, and while nUtmeg and I were out, a pair of hummingbirds!

As our commenter mentioned, jewelweed has many uses. The Native Americans knew that crushing the leaves and stems and applying the juice would relive the itch of poison ivy and nettles, which happens to be found in moist areas as well, so should be handy. The sap also can be used as an anti-fungal.

Please note that we are squirrels and this folklore is not intended to be medical advice!

Check out more about Jewelweed on the US Forest Service page.

 

Fall is upon us…

With the dry weather and slightly cooler temperatures in our suburban neighborhood of Washington, D.C. we squirrels feel that fall has descended. After all, it’s only a few more days until the autumnal equinox!

The fall plants like this Wingstem are certainly showing off and putting their last efforts at getting their seeds developed. Good for them, and the bees, too!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

This guy has a perfect target on his ‘bee-hind’. But do you know what this insect is? Or the flower, if you prefer!

Give us a guess in the comments!

~~~

This was a tricky one for us to identify.

Black and white wasps aren’t too common, but we had to have some help from a friend’s photo–thanks, Martha–to verify we were seeing all we needed to see.

Yes, this wasp has a very skinny middle. and all of the white markings add up to it being a Fraternal Potter Wasp. This is a type of mason wasp that, as you probably guessed, used mud to make its nesting sites. In this case, a little ‘pot’. We squirrels haven’t seen one of these, so if you have, we’d be ever so grateful to see a photo to share!

Another tricky part of the identification is that potter wasps can be black or brown and have white, yellow or orange markings.

Potter wasps are apparently predators, and collect beetle larvae, caterpillars or spiders that they paralyze and seal in the mud brood chamber with their eggs so the young wasps may feed on them. SO can someone explain to us why these wasps were fervently feeding on these flowers?

This late summer plant is well-named: It’s late-flowering boneset

Eupatorium serotinum, a giant of a plant at 7 feet high and 7 feet wide!

It is massive and covered with dozens of different types of insects, wasps, bees and butterflies. We’ll show you more soon!