Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2 for 1: Wednesday Wild Flower + Pollinator of the Week

Two for the price of one: Purple Peavine & Greenish Blue
Purple Peavine, aka Purple Vetchling, Veiny Pea (Lathyrus venous), stretches across North America to just barely make it into central Alberta, but I'm glad it does. A relative of the domesticated Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odorous), but without the selection for large and fragrant flowers, it still makes a fine wildflower.  Disjunct populations also occur on the West Coast; so perhaps, some earlier inhabitants of Alberta also liked these peas and took them with them on their wanderings.
Greenish Blue Plebejus saepiolus from above
The Greenish Blue (Plebejus saepiolus) is just one of the bewildering diversity of tiny 'Blues' that occur in Alberta including the Spring Azure, Western Tailed-Blue, Silvery Blue, Arctic Blue, Rustic Blue, Northern Blue, Acmon Blue, and so on. Every now and then we see enough characters to be reasonably sure of identity, but not often.
Mystery Blue
The caterpillars of the Greenish Blue feed on clovers (Trifolium spp.). Since Alberta has no native species of clover (the closest 'native' species occur in Montana and British Columbia), I suppose that means we owe our Greenish Blues to introduced, 'weedy' clovers. Most true clovers aren't really very weedy, but several are important crops and all a good source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. So, I prefer to think of clovers as nascent Albertans.
Red Clover - not a 'native'

1 comment:

  1. Love the little blues. Are any of our Alberta species myrmecophiles?