Each individual stalk creates a unique look, with seed heads forming along one side of the stem. This plant can grow in rocky, sandy and shallow soil, so it could be a nice addition to an area you cannot grow other grasses.
A beautiful lavender field of Dense Blazing Star. Photo by John Howard.
The purple flower in the logo is Dense Blazing Star, Liatris spicata. This plant is another butterfly attractant. We, also, had a row of Dense Blazing Star at the nursery which monarchs really enjoyed. One day, I counted over 25 monarchs feeding on the Liatris in our field. The dense flower stalks are covered with seeds attached to fluffy pappus in the late fall and winter that many birds find irresistible.
Male Monarch butterfly on Common Milkweed.
That brings us full circle to the monarch butterfly in our logo. Monarchs are great ambassadors for nature. Adults and children alike delight in spying a monarch on the wing. Their bright orange and black signature colors may attract humans, but birds know it is a warning sign to stay away. Monarchs pick up cardiac glycosides from their host plants, poisons found in the milkweed family. The caterpillars munch away on leaves of milkweed, all the while protecting their delicate bodies from harm. If a bird eats a monarch caterpillar or adult, they will soon learn that it will cause vomiting and they will shun them from then on.
Monarchs' annual migration to Mexico each year links many citizens from both countries. School children participate in many projects pertaining to the monarch migration. Citizen science tagging projects through Monarch Watch and Monarch Larva Monitoring Project involve many people in the U.S. on the tagging end of the project and Mexico on the recovery of the tags. The monarch is a very appropriate mascot, considering these insects truly connect people to nature and that is our goal, as well.