Two-tone butterfly weed

The butterfly weed nearest the street — one big plant that’s been growing for a few years — is two shades of orange:

from above, a nearly round-shaped plant, dark orange flowers on the left, lighter orange flowers on the right

half dark orange, half light orange.

close-up view from the side, dark orange milkweed in focus in front, light orange out of focus in back

This particular plant (one of at least five butterfly weeds in our front yard) is constantly humming with busy honeybees.

closeup of a stem of dark orange with a honeybee on each side

closeup of a horizontal stem of light orange, with one honeybee on the left and two on the right

I thought about watching for five minutes for an unscientific study of which side the bees prefer. Over several days, I would keep coming back to this flower, and the result wasn’t consistent.

closeup of dark orange, with a honeybee in focus facing down on the left and an out-of-focus honeybee further back on the right

closeup of light orange, with a honeybee in focus facing up on the center-right and an out-of-focus honeybee above facing left

Other bees sometimes make an appearance, too. I don’t know what kind of bee this is.

longhorn bee facing away so the head isn't visible

And being butterfly weed, butterflies sometimes stop by, too. I think this is a type of hairstreak.

small brown butterfly with a small triangle of orange on the bottom of the hind wing and a bluish patch below that

This is the same butterfly weed plant that had six monarch eggs earlier this year.

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