The Butterfly Effect

Updated: Jul 22

The wings of butterflies—cherished by professional photographers—are enabled by a unique molecule produced by the hemp plant. The following excerpt from a Higher Learning LV™ homework assignment teaches you more.

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Interestingly, flavonoids provide the color for not only thousands of plants in nature, but also some of the insects that feed on them. In fact, one of the most photographically coveted insects in nature, the butterfly, maintains an intimate relationship with flavonoids and the plants that produce them.


Interesting, flavonoids provide the color for not only thousands of plants in nature, but also some of the insects that feed on them.

According to a 1994 article by Nicolas Wade entitled "How Nature Makes a Butterfly Wing" that appeared in The New York Times, flavonoids are responsible for the sometimes vibrant dyes in the wings of butterflies.


"In the pupil stage, the patterned wing cells develop a rainbow of tones as each crafts a scale of a single hue," wrote Wade. It seems that butterflies are among insect species that are incapable of producing flavonoids. "The rich palette of dyes in butterflies' wings are all derived from...flavonoids, which the insects cannot make themselves and must sequester from their food plants," he continued.


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