I am slowly learning how to ID goldenrods. According to my new Peterson's Wildflower guide, you first look at the flower type - is it plume-like, elm-branched, club-like, wand-like, or flat-topped?
Next, you look at the veining in the leaves - is it parallel or feathered?
That gets you down to three or four species, then it is a matter of flipping through your guides and guessing. Um, no - I mean, more careful observation and study.
The aforementioned goldenrod, whatever it's name, is in a corner between the NW wall and the screened-in porch, and the space is too tight for the large mower my yard guy has been using to mow my yard this year. So, the weeds have grown high and although at first I was embarrassed by the mess, I am now glad I left it alone. Today, I found this messy patch contains an embarrassment of riches when it comes to insect life.
First bug:After a little research, I think I've got this one's name right. Goldenrod Soldier Beetle - Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus
The plants were teeming with many varieties of Hymenoptera (bees and wasps) - honeybees, bumblebees, and several different kinds of wasps.
Ordinarily, I am hesitant to get too close to stinging things, but these guys were intent on their task and paid no attention to me, stumbling clumsily around, trying to take a decent macro photograph.
There were several skippers, perhaps more than one species, but they were tough to photograph. This is the best I could do, and it is fuzzy.
Besides these bugs, there were lots of teeny, tiny flying things in among the flowers. This was one busy clump of weeds!
The butterfly that first caught my eye and drew my attention to this microworld flew away the minute I stepped out among the goldenrod, not to return. It was relatively large, light brown, with lovely eyespots. Maybe a Northern Pearly Eye? Too bad it got away.
(photo from Flickr.com)