Butterflies Nectar Preferences

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Sat Jun 23 07:04:43 EDT 2001

We are very fond of Peonies (which I think are in the Buttercup 
family) and have about 80 plants, many of which were obtained by my 
grandmother more than 75 years ago.  Almost all are "doubles" and I have 
never seen a butterfly on bud or blossom. 

They certainly are fragrant, however, and they are a favorite of Tiko, 
the Amazon Parrot that owns us. Tiko will dismantle a Peony and bite off 
the base of each "petal", crush it with his tongue, and then drop it. 
(Joanna Burger, my wife, describes this behavior in her book THE PARROT 
WHO OWNS ME).  Even after an 11 month absence from the house, Tiko 
virtually instantaneously recognizes a Peony and distinguishes it from 
other cut flowers that we bring in throughout the year, in which he 
generally shows no interest.  

There are, however, single Peonies which might have more nectar or be 
more attractive. 

I wonder what butterflies Mary Beth has seen at Peonies. 


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