As the thistles are going to seed, the beautiful "Woodland Sunflower" is beginning it's show. Seen on most unmowed roadsides, the bright daisy/sunflower like yellow flower heads are attracting butterflies, bees, and birds.
This perennial native wildflower, Helianthus strumosus, is about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches wide with up to 15 rays (petals coming out in a single form). The plant grows in areas that get down to minus 35 degrees in the winter and south. Bloom time is August and September.
The leaves are usually opposite and somewhat hairy and the plants grow from 3 to seven foot tall.
As we were walking along our road this morning, a patch of these sunflowers had three Monarch Butterflies and two Goldfinches sipping the nectar. Sunflower seeds are a favorite food of Goldfinches in the winter.
I theorize the reason the decorating industries uses golds, yellows and oranges in the Fall is due to native wildflower colors during this bloom time. We humans think we invent everything but often it can be attributed to simply following nature's show.
Check out the site: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/
It shows the places where Monarch Butterflies are roosting on their migration south. If you see a roost in a tree, feel free to enter your data. Since this area has had an increase in sightings, I'm hoping Monarchs are on their way to increasing their numbers.