Cloudless Sulphurs Everywhere!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)August 26, 2009

I've read that cloudless sulphurs/Phoebis sennae migrate in the fall, and they must have already started, because I'm seeing them everywhere! Turk's cap/Malvaviscus drummondii is their old nectaring favorite and it's blooming profusely, and my new firebush/Hamelia patens with its reddish orange blooms is quickly becoming a second favorite - the hummers go to it a lot, too. The sulphurs also use the purple porterweed and the red pentas a lot.

I let volunteer sicklepods/Cassia obtusifolias that come up in my garden stay, because the sulphurs like it better for egg laying than they do the Christmas cassia/C. bicapsularis, although they use the Christmas cassias, too. Sicklepod is supposed to be an annual, and I know it does come up from seed here, but I've got several that have been coming up in the exact same place every spring for he past five or six years, so I think they may be a perennial here, too. I brought in a cat, and I'm happy to find out that sicklepod stays fresh in water better than Christmas cassia. The cat is green but it's starting to eat some of the flowers, so it might be sort of lime green by the time it pupates.


I find adult sulphurs very hard to photograph, so I'll just post a picture from last year - this one was on turk's cap, naturally!


Sherry

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mechelle_m(z9 TX)

I, too, am having lots of sulphurs this year. I even saw 3 "fighting" over territory this morning. They are one of my favorite butterflies to watch, looking like a stick of butter flying through the air (or a pat of butter, I guess).

My Christmas Cassia is in the front yard and the Cassia Alata in the back, I have seen lots of traffic on both, there doesn't seem to be a preference.

Mechelle

1 Like    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 8:35PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Cloudless sulfurs also appeared this week almost like magic. So I am thinking the migration is on. My sicklepod reseeded and has come up rather thickly. I found one very tiny caterpillar this evening. And, yes, Sherry, the sicklepod seems to do better in water.

Sandy

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 9:16PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

I just love them. They have started to become regulars in southern Ohio which is a big deal on the lep circles. We haven't seen them as much this year but the were here earlier. I just love your caterpillar pictures of them. Those greens are so pretty!
-Elisabeth

1 Like    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:43AM
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danny112596(10a)

Cool! The Butterfly Peak Season is starting in October. Butterfly activity is picking up. I am getting uncommon butterflies already. I am getting a lot of butterflies in my area considering we are in a drought here.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 2:30PM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

The cat picture is very cool. Cloudless are my favorite Sulphurs. We get them in the fall in MD, but they have a colony at the environmental center at North Bay, and we once saw one in early July.

Jeff

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 3:33PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, all!
The cat pupated and made a nice green chrysalis - I was glad, because, for whatever reason, I didn't have a picture of a green one, just two pictures of pink ones.

Sherry

1 Like    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 5:02PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

Yea! I got tired of waiting for my hubby to show me how to post photos again (you know the old saying, "the cobbler's kids go unshorn"?). Anyhow, thanks to Jeff, I am now the proud owner of a photobucket account. Watchout!!! Just in time too. I led a butterfly walk here the other day and this was one of the first things we saw. Cover your eyes if you are of a delicate nature :).
-Elisabeth

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 7:18AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

I adore the Cloudless Sulphurs but have seen few this summer so far. Some of their favorite nectar plants are about to bloom (white cypress vine) or are already blooming (red hibiscus, pink/white salvia, senna bicapsularis). Do they like the BB? Best buy ever as it immediately attracted Red Admiral, Buckeye, GF, Monarchs and only has about 4 blooms on it!

Elizabeth, what plant are they @#%^ on?

MissSherry, how in the heck do you catalog all your photos? You've been doing this for quite some time huh.

Susan

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 7:42AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'll repeat Susan's question, Elisabeth - what plant is that? It looks like Eupatorium havanense - is it? I love that picture, and I can't wait to see more of them!
Susan, I keep a list of my pictures on the My Documents part of my computer with Note Pad - I have a separate listing for each type of butterfly, plus one for Moths and Miscellaneous, listed alphabetically, like 'Admiral, Red' is first on the list, with the various pictures of the adults, cats, and eggs under the RA heading. Whenever I add a picture to Photobucket, I add it to the list, and whenever I delete pictures - I make a lot of pictures that are temporarily pertinent, but I don't want to keep them forever - I delete them on the list also. When somebody wants to know, for example, what a palamedes swallowtail looks like, I just go to my list to see what I have. I pick one, type in the URL, which includes the name of the picture, like PalonCardinalFlower or whatever. If I think I've got a better one, I go back and erase the name of the picture and replace it with another one to see what that picture looks like. It makes it possible for me to post a picture to illustrate what I'm talking about or to (pretty quickly) show somebody what they want to see.
Sherry

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 10:30AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Love all the pictures, Sherry and Elizabeth. I'm glad you are now able to post, Elizabeth! I also like your filing system, Sherry. I need to do something like that.

I found my first Cloudless Sulfur cat of the season this week. It's almost big enough to pupate.

Sandy

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 10:39AM
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emmayct(6)

In Elisabeth's picture...which butterfly is male and which is female?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 8:31PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The one on top with the clear greenish yellow look is the male, and the one on the bottom with all the doodads on her wings is the female, Maryann.
Sherry

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 10:23PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

I will have to ask the folks I was with what the plant was. It is at a local monastary, where a brother took it upon himself to start an environmental education center that does native plant restoration over 40 years ago. It is really a wonderful place and great for butterflies. It was a funny walk though because I have never seen so many butterflies, ummm, pro-creating, and we had at least two Brothers with us. Well, someone there had too!
-Elisabeth

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 4:13PM
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cecropia(z5 Oh)

I didn't realize this species occurs in Ohio.Haven't seen any up here,so maybe they're only found in the southern part of the state.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 11:13PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

Hi Dan;
I am not sure. There has been a lot of interest in Ohio with this species since it used to be considered a rare migrant. It is not rare down here anymore. I had one in my yard two days ago and we see them pretty routinely anywhere there is senna. So, you might start seeing them up there at some point. They are pretty powerful fliers. Figure out where their host plant is and you might see them.
Cheers,
Elisabeth

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 6:08AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I got this picture of cloudless sulphurs on my porterweed - the female is on the left, the male on the right -

Sherry

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 2:09PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

They do adore red flowers, don't they?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 6:18PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

I know that porterweed is a tropical plant. Can it be grown as an annual up north?
-Elisabeth

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 7:04PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Elizabeth,

I grow it as an annual in Oklahoma. I take cuttings in the fall and root them for the next spring. Works well.

Sandy

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 7:44PM
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nebu

wow, awesome red porter weed!

mine died. Kinda ticks me off when there is a plant I really want to grow, but doesn't quite like my setting. Perhaps I'll buy another and hope for the best, maybe more shade? The purple one grows almost too well here.

Nick

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 7:54PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, all!
Yes, Susan, it's weird, but the sulphurs don't flock to butterfly bush or lantana like other butterflies, preferring red turk's cap, scarlet firebush, red pentas, and coral porterweed - they also like bright blue flowers, like Salvia guaranitica and blue porterweed.
This porterweed is actually coral, Nick, though it's very dark right now - I think the cool (for summer) temps we've had lately make the blooms darker, like they are in spring. I've got some blue/purple porterweed, but it's only about ?3' tall. The coral is about ?6' tall - I had to point the camera upwards to take the picture - this is an old plant, though, and it gets taller every year. I love porterweed, because it's a reliable butterfly attractor - if it's blooming, there will be butterflies on it, like lantana, milkweed, and butterfly bush.
Elisabeth, you could take cuttings to overwinter, like Sandy said. It self-sows for me, the volunteers coming up in the spring, but I don't know if the seeds can withstand Ohio winters or not.
Sherry

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 8:46PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

So this is why Elisabeth has senna in her garden. I've never knowingly seen one of these in my part of Ohio. Cool chrysalis.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 2:21AM
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linda_tx8(8)

I miss the sulfurs! Normally, I'd walk outside this time of year and see lots of butterflies, but not this year. But yesterday, I did see a white and a skipper!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:21PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

There was a male cloudless sulphur in my garden today, flirting with a female. I didn't get a picture of the two of them, but I did get his picture, on red flowers, as usual -

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:34PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

I planted senna last year and it did well. Planting more this year and hoping the migrating butterflies, like the cloudless sulphurs, make it this far north this year. The 1/2" of snow I now have on the ground is probably not helping.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:10AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'm not surprised you've got snow, KC. I heard on the radio that the record temperature for this day in Gulfport is 39 degrees, and that record will probably be broken, since it's supposed to reach 38 degrees tonight. It's supposed to be 36 degrees up here! I brought all my caterpillars, chrysalides, and cocoons into the unheated guest room, with the window cracked and the door shut. I don't want to put them in a warm room, because when I put them outside, I want the temps (and humidty) to be reasonably the same. I'll wait and bring them back out when it warms up, which is supposed to be right away.

I brought in a lot of pipevine swallowtail caterpillars, having heard about how cold it was going to be. I don't know what I'm going to do about the pearl crescent eggs outside. I think I'll put a stem of the asters in water and see how it holds up - if it does well, I'll bring them in, too.

There was a weak tornado or strong straight line winds in Gautier last night that turned over mobile homes. - the difference in the temps between what we were having and what we're now having is extreme.

That last picture looks like some type annual red salvia. I'm wondering if it was 'Lady in Red' - I can't remember what it was.

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:06AM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

The photo with the white blooms looks like Boneset, a good late season bloomer for me.

Mary

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:45AM
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four(9B (near 9a))

> Posted by susanlynne48
> nectar plants... senna bicapsularis

Have you (or has any reader) seen any butterfly drinking from it?
(as opposed to laying eggs on or near flower)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 1:52PM
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alex928 Z8/LA

I was in the mountains of VA a couple of weeks ago and actually saw a couple of sulphurs there. I was a bit surprised to see butterflies there this late, but then again, the high that day was forecasted to be around 60, and I know they always seem to come out when it warms up down here, even in the middle of winter.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 5:57PM
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linda_tx8(8)

The sulfurs have returned here...didn't seen any during the last front but there's plenty now!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2014 at 1:25PM
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tom123_gw(9b)

I have the senna bicapsularis and it is blooming like crazy now. The sulphurs love it and do use it as a larval plant. Mine started out small about ten years ago or so and now it is huge. It has grown up a large tree and now covers a large portion of it. I would say that it is over 30 feet tall by now. If I get ambitious I will post a picture.

On warm days I see sulphurs now, but not as many as a month ago.

Tom, Central Florida

    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 7:15AM
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