Tag Archives: ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana

Flowers for Fall-Migrating Monarch Butterflies

One of the surest ways to see fall-migrating Monarch butterflies is to plant flowers that attract them. Monarchs will drop from the sky for the nectar they need for energy during fall migrations.

(For your convenience, you can follow links on the various plants mentioned here to check for availability and price.)

Asters (Aster spp.) are a favorite of Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) in the fall, particularly the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).

Monarch on aster

Monarch nectaring on Aster.

Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.), including Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia speciosa) and Swamp Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius) are late bloomers and provide nectar for migrating Monarchs.

Monarch on Orange Mexican Sunflower

Monarch nectaring on Orange Mexican Sunflower.

Monarch on Swamp Sunflower

Monarch nectaring on Swamp Sunflower.

Many Lantanas (Lantana spp.) are still blooming. Last year I had several Monarchs stop in late October in my North Carolina, USA, garden to sip the nectar from ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana (Lantana camara ‘Miss Huff’)

Monarch butterfly nectaring on ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is a wonderful fall blooming perennial that attracts Monarchs and comes in many different varieties.

Goldenrod

Goldenrod provides an enticing buffet for pollinators, including fall-migrating Monarchs and other butterflies.

Ironweed (Vernonia spp.) always attracts Monarchs.

Monarch sampling Ironweed nectar.

Other great nectar flowers to plant for fall-migrating Monarchs include these:
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Autumn Joy Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’)
Dense Blazingstar (Liatris spicata)
Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)
Rose Verbena (Verbena canadensis)

What’s in a Name?

Ever wonder where the Monarch butterfly got its name?

Monarch nectaring on Tropical Milkweed

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) nectaring on Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), also known as Scarlet Milkweed, Bloodflower, and Mexican Butterfly Weed.

Apparently, the sight of the Monarch butterfly and its orange color impressed the early settlers, who came to North America from Holland and England. So, they named it “Monarch,” after King William III, Prince of Orange, state holder of Holland, and later named King of England, according to Monarch Watch.

King William

King William III, Prince of Orange, state holder of Holland, and later named King of England. • Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, circa 1680s.

Another version, related by Rick Mikula in The Family Butterfly Book, surmises that the early colonists of North America thought that the gold rim around the chrysalis reminded them of the king’s crown so they named the butterfly “Monarch.”

Queen and Monarch Chrysalises

Was the Queen (Danaus gilippus) butterfly so named because it resembles a Monarch but is smaller? Queen (left) and Monarch chrysalises shown in side-by-side comparison.

The scientific name of the Monarch, Danaus plexippus, has another origin. Danaus, great-grandson of Zeus, was a mythical king in Egypt or Libya, who founded Argos. Plexippus was one of the 50 sons of Aegyptus and the twin brother of Danaus.

“In Homeric Greek, plexippos means ‘one who urges on horses,’ i.e.: ‘rider or charioteer.’ Linnaeus, who came up with the scientific name, wrote that the names of the Danai festivi, the division of the genus to which Papilio plexippus belonged, were derived from the sons of Aegyptus.” –Wikipedia

Monarch nectaring on Miss Huff Lantana

Autumn-migrating Monarch nectaring on ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana (Lantana camara ‘Miss Huff’) in North Carolina, USA

Whatever the origin of its name, the Monarch butterfly truly is royalty!