Since the blazingstar doesn't open up until dusk, it is pollenated by moths. We did see bees out collecting too. The flower is favored by the white-lined sphinx moth, shown here. The moths flew by quite close to my face, a bit unnerving. The sphinx's wing span can reach 3.5" wide. It is called a hummingbird moth due to the way that it hovers, wings beating rapidly, as it sips the flower's nectar. You can see the red clay earth in the background that the blazingstar seems to favor, besides the dry brown clay earth in the Badlands area.
Monday, August 24
Tenpetal Blazingstar and Sphinx Moth
I'd been waiting a year to get more photos of the tenpetal blazingstar, a unique flower that only opens up at dusk. A.k.a. eveningstar; of the stickleaf family. My friend J. accompanied me down to Hot Springs last night, where we enjoyed fine dining at Pizza Hut...before heading further south a few miles to one of two spots where we know the flower grows. I haven't seen it anywhere further N in the Black Hills...it likes the dry, desert-like soil found in the S-most part of the Hills.
Posted by Jann at 10:21 AM