Natural Highlights: Butterweed

From a rosette of obscure basal leaves, Butterweed (Packera glabella) sends up a tall shoot 1-3 ft. high topped by a cluster of daisy-like yellow flowers in early spring.  This annual wildflower blooms profusely throughout the Wolf River bottoms and along many sections of the Wolf River Greenway where it tends to grow in sunny, disturbed places along with Daisy Fleabane. Both plants attract pollinating insects, as do most members of the Aster family.  Also called Cressleaf Groundsel and Yellowtop, Butterweed even has a specialist pollinator – a small native mining bee, Andrena gardineri, which gathers large amounts of pollen from the flowers to feed its larvae.  The plant blooms from April to June, producing lots of seeds from which it will reappear next year.

Butterweed is quite toxic to mammals, including humans, and is particularly dangerous when it occurs in pastures grazed by livestock.  White-tailed deer, on the other hand, seem to avoid it. 

For more information on Butterweed, please use the following links:

Posted by Cathy Justis at 9:47 AM