Skippers Photobomb My Pickerel-Weed Shoot

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Pontedaria cordata
Pontedariaceae

 

Pickerel-weed is an emergent aquatic, so you’ll find it along shorelines, forming large colonies of four-foot tall plants that bloom from summer into autumn.
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The flowers have two lips, an upper lip with two lobes and a lower lip with three lobes.

I’ve never seen it in the upper Potomac Gorge, but found masses of plants along the shores of the river downstream of Chain Bridge.

 

 

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The flower spikes and heart-shaped leaves are typically about six inches long.
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And the skippers adore it.  I believe the one on the left is a male zabulon skipper (Poanes zabulon); the one on the right is either a female zabulon or a clouded skipper (Lerema accius).

 

Pickerel-weed ranges from Texas to Minnesota and east (and is also found in Oregon and British Columbia).  It’s threatened in Kentucky yet considered weedy by some authorities.

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peekaboo!

By the way, pickerel-weed flowers are generally a blue-violet color.  All the pictures on this page (except for the colony) are of the same spike; I think some combination of shifting sunlight and camera position accounts for the apparent discrepancy in color.

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