FAIRY RINGS AND FRITTILARIES
Male and female Diana fritillaries.
Diana fritillary larva.August is the time for fritillaries and fairy rings. Both are present in our wild garden. Diana fritillaries, so have the distinction of being dimorphic. That is, it occurs in two different form. The female's wings are a velvety black marked with a shimmering blue dice-like pattern (fritillus means dice box in Latin) and the male's are a gorgeous black and tawny wings Their larvae feed on violet leaves. Adults feed on the nectar of milkweed. I have seem them noshing on crepe myrtle, clover, and echinacea. They live for four to five months and those of us who lucky enough to live in Appalachian bottom lands can expect to see them at their meal time, mid-afternoon.
Fairy rings are not as beautiful as butterflies. All the same, their earth bound beauty is remarkable when observed at close quarters. Our garden erupts with fungi of greater visual impact, such as the dreaded Dead Man's finger. It also harbors inkycaps, the bane of drinkers of alcohol. We allowed our most recent fairy ring to deacy, not knowing that its 'shrooms, much as inkycaps, are edible.We will not make that mistake again.