Butterflies returning to Meijer Gardens

Asian red lacewing

The butterflies are blooming again.

It’s almost the time of year for the annual butterfly exhibit at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The 25th annual Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition will bring more than 7,000 tropical butterflies to West Michigan from March 1-April 30.

About 60 colorful species of butterflies and moths journey from Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Philippines and Kenya to fly freely in the five-story, 15,000 square-foot Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory. At 85 degrees and 70% humidity, the balmy environment mimics the butterflies’ native tropical regions.

More than 1,000 pupae arrive at Meijer Gardens weekly from around the world. Guests can watch as delicate chrysalides and cocoons are placed in the observation station, where the creatures then transform and spread their wings for the first time.

This much-loved exhibition attracts 185,000 visitors from all over the world each year, the park said.

The exhibition also includes multiple special events.

Species at the exhibit

Species of butterflies expected to arrive include the blue common morpho and brushfoot varieties such as the clearwing, lacewing and zebra mosaic.

Distinctive wing patterns can be seen on the small blue grecian, doris, postman and tiger butterflies.

Gliders like the emperor, ruby-spotted and orchard swallowtails also will add to the diverse assortment.

A rich carpet of ferns punctuated by bright fuchsia and mango-colored blooms and lime green foliage creates an irresistible buffet for nectaring butterflies, the park said.

The exhibition will include the flowering plants pentas, orange plume flower, blue porterweed, jatropha, queen’s wreath and bleeding heart vines.

Photo courtesy Frederik Meijer Gardens.

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