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Poor Will's Almanack: March 5 - 11, 2019

cabbage butterfly
Brad Smith
Flickr Creative Commons

On the 6th of March The Cabbage White Butterfly Moon is new.

And white cabbage butterflies are the surest sign of the full sweep of Early Spring. Once you notice those butterflies, then you know the more elusive mourning cloak butterflies and the question mark butterflies and the tortoise shell butterflies and the tiny blues are flying too.

When you see cabbage butterflies, then you know that gold finches are turning gold. If you see a cabbage butterfly, then you know that catfish have begun spring feeding and breeding. If you see a cabbage butterfly, then green bottle flies have hatched and termites are swarming, looking for new, sweet wood to eat.

If you see a white cabbage butterfly on your way to work, you can know that Middle Spring’s hepatica and twinleaf are pushing out in the sanctuary of the woodlands.  Toad trillium and Dutchman’s britches are ready to open there, the entire spectrum of wildflowers surging to encounter April.

Cherry trees blossom in the nation’s capital under the Cabbage White Butterfly Moon. Azaleas and camellias bloom in the Deep South. In the Ohio Valley, the first bluebells press through the mulch, no matter what the weather. Snowdrops, aconites and snow crocuses reach the peak of their seasons in town.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of Early Spring  and the second week of the Cabbage White Butterfly Moon. In the meantime, well,  look for cabbage whites when the days turn warm and the evenings are long with Daylight Saving Time.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.