Blooming in my garden: Mexican Butterfly Weed

20 06 2011

Mexican Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica), also known as Blood-flower, Scarlet Milkweed or Tropical Milkweed, is an evergreen perennial plant and a favorite food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. The caterpillars eat the leaves and the adult butterfly sips its nectar. Milkweed contains a toxin that saves the butterfly from predators because of the bitter taste!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Nessus Sphinx caterpillar?

24 10 2010

After over an hour of research, I have concluded that this might be a Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis) caterpillar. I photographed it in my parent’s front yard in San Antonio, Texas. I’m concluding from my research that the caterpillar is about 3-4 weeks old and is looking for a place to pupate. If I’m correct on my identification, the moth will emerge from its larvae pupae looking like this one here. I photographed it last night with my camera phone (you can just imagine how not stellar those images were). My dad charged the battery in his Nikon D40x overnight and I was able to use that this afternoon to capture this (much better) image!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

10 07 2010

Some of you may have noticed that my photographic style is very graphic and sometimes minimalist—clean lines, stark composition, judicious use of light, pops of color, selective depth of field, and employing varying degrees of bokeh. Well, capturing a “plant portrait” of Queen Anne’s Lace (which I have avoided until now, believe it or not), isn’t easy—and it’s a hard flower to fit into my more graphic style. It’s a very delicate flower with hundreds of little flowering brachts spread over a wide, curving surface—making it hard to control the depth of field across the entire flower. I hung in there yesterday and experimented with it—resulting in a shot that I rather like—and that still suits my photographic bent!

Queen Anne’s Lace is sometimes called Wild Carrot—in fact, the carrots we eat were once cultivated from this plant. Lacy, flat-topped clusters bloom from May through October. It is a biennial plant, meaning it lives for just two years. Although many people consider it an invasive weed, many insects benefit from this wildflower—caterpillars of the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly (at right) eat the leaves, bees and other insects are drawn to the nectar, and other insects feed on the aphids that inhabit the flowers.

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Check out my zenfolio.com gallery!

1 05 2009

I’ve been working on putting the “cream of the crop” of my garden and landscape photos into one easy-to-navigate gallery. Eventually I’ll have the gallery set up to sell prints as well as stock photos, but in the interim, this is just a way to wrangle all of my web-viewing-only images into one gallery. I’ll be adding more images in the future. Currently there are 380 images in the Botanical Gallery. That should keep you plenty busy! If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll recognize many of the photos.

Once you click on the first link below, you can click “view all” at the bottom and see everything on one page, scrolling down as you go. If you click on an individual photo, it will enlarge and thumbnails for other images will show up on the side (as shown in the collage below). You can click on any of those to enlarge, or you can just launch the slide show in the second link below. I hope you enjoy the show!

Gallery:  http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135

Slideshow: http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135/slideshow

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Open a Zenfolio account with my referral code 8B9-BTJ-6G3 and save $5.00

zenfolio-gallery