Thursday, June 23, 2011

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

One of my favorite weeds is beginning to bloom. I'm always amazed that a flower so beautiful and exotic-looking is a native wildflower, and even considered an invasive pest by some.

Passionflower is a native, perennial vine growing in the southeastern United States. Its vine can be up to 25 feet long and climbs with axillary tendrils or sprawls along the ground. It spreads by root suckers. The vine dies back to the ground during winter, but re-emerges in the spring.

Passionflowers are often purple, but can range from a deep purple to almost pure white. All passionflowers I've found around here are white, although you can see a slight tinge of purple in some of the fringe. Many different pollinators from bees to butterflies nectar on the passionflower and it is a larval host for Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, Crimson-patch longwing, Red-banded hairstreak, Julia butterfly, Mexican butterflies.

(More information and photos at Floridata.)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Silver-Spotted Skipper on Purple Coneflower

Both butterfly and the coneflower are past their prime, but still worthy of a few pixels, I think.

According to BugGuide,  Silver-Spotted Skippers range throughout southern Canada and most of the continental United States except the Great Basin and west Texas; northern Mexico.

Caterpillar Hosts: Many woody legumes including black locust (Robinia pseudacacia), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and false indigo (Amorpha species).

More information and photos are also available from Butterflies and Moths of North America.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Io Moth (Automeris io) - Male

A very common moth throughout eastern North America and north to southern Canada.  They range west to southern Arizona and south to Central America, at least as far as Costa Rica.  Larvae feed on a wide variety of host plants -- over 100 recorded plant genera in North America -- , including such diverse plants as azaleas, blackberry, clover, cotton, current, hackberry, hibiscus, mesquite, palms, rear, redbud, roses and willows.  (University of Florida "Featured Creature")

Prominent eye spots on hind wings are distinctive and found on both males and females.  Males are usually yellow while females are a rusty red color.

(Previous post includes photos of female, eggs and caterpillars.)