Not all pansies are plants! This one happens to be an insect: a butterfly to be more specific. The Blue Pansy does, however, have something in common with its green namesake. It is very pretty.
The Blue Pansy is very common in gardens across the eastern half of South Africa. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that it is expanding its range westwards, particularly as more and more gardeners plant Creeping Foxglove, the Blue Pansy’s favourite host plant, in their gardens. They are also attracted to the Forest Bell Bush, Butterfly Joy and Yellow Justicia.
When can I see the Blue Pansy in my garden
These butterflies have a wingspan of 4 to 5 cm. Male and female are similar, but the male is more colourful. The blue spot of the female is more purple in colour. In areas with warmer winters, they may be found all year round, although they will be more common in summer. In colder areas they are only seen in the summer months.
The Blue Pansy is quite easy to spot in a garden. Unlike many species of butterfly that flit frantically across your garden, this one will fly from flower to flower, or spend time perched on a flower or the ground slowly fanning its wings. It’s cousin, the Yellow Pansy, behaves in a similar way.
Butterflies are territorial?
Many people do not realise how territorial butterflies can be and the Blue Pansy is no exception. Males are constantly prepared to chase others away from their little territory. Butterflies have poor eyesight so they may be chasing another male away of any other insect and sometimes a bird. Male Blue Pansy’s are particularly attracted to higher ground such as ridges and this is where they often sort out their territorial disputes.
Read more about the Blue Pansy on BlueGnu.