One of my favorite wild flowers is the Basket Flower, Centaurea americana. It grows in many places across Texas. I love the delicate petals of this flower and their shades of lavender. Basket flowers are members of the Asteraceae family and their flowers are really compound flowers where each petal is associated with a single tiny flower within the composite flower head. They get their name from the phyllaries or bracts that surround the base of the flower head to form a cup of interwoven spines that resemble a basket. They bloom from May till August each year.
The butterfly nectaring on the Basket Flower is an Orange Skipperling, Copaeodes aurantiaca in the family Hesperiidae, the skipper butterflies. Skippers like moist areas along the margins of rivers and streams. This stand of Basket Flowers was beside a bridge over a small stream in West Texas at the edge of the caprock.
In the last image, you can see the proboscis of the skipperling probing the flowerlets for nectar. I am literally amazed at how these tiny creatures unfurl these structures and guide them into the multitude of tiny flowers on a plant like the Basket Flower. This kind of behavior goes on all around us largely unnoticed or appreciated by our species. These images remind me what a complex world we live in and give me a sense of wonder about something as simple as a butterfly and a flower.