Dan Vining

Author's posts

Monarch Caterpillars

Monarch caterpillars [Danaus plexippus] found in Fletcher, North Carolina on 14 September 2018, and in our backyard on 24 August 2019 and 6 September 2020.  Also shown is caterpillar excrement, called “frass.”  Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife, page 264, shows that this species can be found throughout the United States, southern Canada, and parts of …

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Maryland Meadow Beauty

Maryland Meadow Beauty [Rhexia mariana] found at Creasman Farms, Hendersonville, North Carolina on 5 September 2020.  It’s a member of the Meadow Beauty (Rhexia) family and has “eight conspicuous yellow stamens.”  Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, pages 160-161, states it blooms in summer in low meadows and sandy swamps. USDA Plants Listing: Rhexia mariana

Grass Spider

Grass Spider [Agelenopsis pennsylvanica] found on the roadside of the Blue Ridge Parkway on 1 September 2020. The NWF Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America, page 398, says their “web has a retreat tunnel that serves as a shelter; it is not sticky; insect prey are rushed, captured, and hauled to the …

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Monkey Grass or Big Blue Lilyturf

Monkey Grass or Big Blue Lilyturf [Liriope muscari] photographed in the Vining yard on 30 August 2020. It’s a member of the Lily (Liliaceae) family, was brought from Asia, and used as a border plant. Ours is on the border of a slope with Winter Creeper. The first photo was taken by Martha with her macro …

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St. Andrew’s Cross

St. Andrew’s Cross [Hypericum hypericoides] photographed in the Vining yard on 9 July 2013 and 30 August 2020. It’s a member of the Mangosteen (Clusiaceae) family, genus St. Johnswort. Wildflowers of the Carolinas, pages 330-331, says it blooms in summer and fall and can be found in “dry to moist sandy or rocky soils, pinewoods, bogs.”  …

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Thunberg’s Geranium

Thunberg’s Geranium [Geranium thunbergii], a member of the Geranium (Geraniaceae) family, found at the roadside on 28 August 2020 near mile marker 388 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is not native to North America.  It’s a small flower and you have to get close to photograph its details. USDA Plants Listing:  Geranium thunbergii

Cabbage White Butterfly

Cabbage White Butterfly [Pieris rapae] seen in Asheville, North Carolina near the French Broad River on 22 August 2020.  The NWF Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America, page 266 says this species was introduced from Europe and “feeds on cabbages, nasturtiums, and other plants in the mustard family.”

Polyphemus Moth

Polyphemus Moth [Antheraea polyphemus] photos were taken at Ridgefield Court, Asheville, North Carolina on 16 July 2019.

Carolina Horse-Nettle

Carolina Horse-Nettle [Solanum carolinense] photos were taken on White Pine Road and Troy Hill Circle on 7 July 2013 and in Fletcher on 1 June 2019. It’s a member of the Potato (Solanaceae) family and genus Nightshade.  Wildflowers of the Carolinas, pages 240-241, says it blooms in summer and grows in “dry sandy soils, disturbed …

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Showy Orchis

Showy Orchis [Galearis spectabilis] photos were taken on the Appalachian Trail (AT), between US 19E and Doll Flats, near Roan Mountain, Tennessee, on 14 May 2016 and near Gerton on 29 April 2018. It’s the member of the Orchid (Orchidaceae) family.  Timothy P. Spira’s Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, …

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