Besides being garden head-turners and absurdly easy perennial growers, Purple coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea, are also some of the best wildlife plants in any home garden. Now, as Central Texas enters its mid-spring-into-summer bloom period, coneflowers are reaching their zenith of beauty and bounty. Everyone visiting wants a meal at Cafe Coneflower.
Enjoying a coneflower is a plain little Dun Skipper, Euphyes vestris. According to Austin Bug Collection, a local Austin insect resource, the males of the species show no demonstrable markings, but the females have a few spots on the forewings.
And so they do!
Another of the many skippers endemic in this region is the Julia’s Skipper, Nastra julia.
Both of these skippers individually enjoy Purple coneflowers,
…and as dining companions at Cafe Coneflower.
Texan Crescents, Anthanassa texana, are all over the garden, all the time, but they always check out the coneflowers for a good nectar snack.
This Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes, heads for Coneflower Cafe whenever he/she is out-and-about, typically during sunshine-drenched afternoons.
Of course, honeybees will always be found partaking a good nectar meal.
It’s easy to catch a Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, dining on flowers in the garden, but right now, it’s all about coneflower cuisine for these friendly pollinators.
They move around the flower during nectaring, so it’s easy to glimpse the various sides of their wings.
It’s not only the butterflies and honeybees who like coneflowers, though.
A Spot-sided Coreid, Hypselonotus punctiventris, worked the coneflower one morning. BugGuide calls this bug a Spot-sided coreid, but Austin Bug Collection says that this common coreid to Central Texas has no common name.
I’ll call him handsome and leave it at that.
This Leaf-footed bug, Acanthocephala femorata, posed impressively on his coneflower plinth.
I think these bugs are charming, though a little intimidating because of their size. But I can’t question this one’s affinity for the coneflower–it’s something we share in common.
As the blooms fade, the birds and some mammals will also reap nutritious rewards through the seeds from this valuable perennial.
I appreciate the beauty coneflowers bring to the garden, the critters like the bounty.
A win-win for all, I’d say.