Gulf Frits Everywhere!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)September 11, 2012

I've got about a dozen gulf frit caterpillars in a cage, plus about three dozen chrysalides in cages, with a few emerging every day, and there are too many cats to count on the vines outside. They've eaten most of the vines down to the nubs, so I transferred many of them to a very long vine that's grown way up in a black gum tree. This morning I saw a caterpillar way up at the highest part of the vine, so obviously at least one of them did some climbing!

There's nothing like gulf frits to perk me up. No matter how depressed I may be feeling, I don't feel that way when watching clouds of those orange beauties nectaring in my garden. They're enjoying lantana, butterfly bush, turk's cap, pentas, and especially coral porterweed these days. Here's one -

Sherry

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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

What a pretty picture Sherry! The most Gulf Frits I've seen in my yard at one time is six. Some years I don't have them at all though so I won't complain.
Is porterweed a perennial for you?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 2:35PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Yes, Christie, at least the coral porterweed is. The red never comes back in the spring, and the blues and purples will come back some years and not others. So, I'm sticking with the coral, which dies back in a mild freeze (32 degress will brown the leaves) but reliably comes back in spring, at least for me here in southeast MS.

I've dug up some volunteer passionvines/P. incarnata and potted them up to plant out in a few weeks - the Mexican sunflowers didn't do this year in a sunny bed in my garden, so I think I'll plant passionvines there.

I just released another one - what fun!

Sherry

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:22PM
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imabirdnut

Beautiful!!!
I'm seeing a lot & my Blue Passionvine has been eaten down to sticks 3 X already! They still aren't using a huge, beautiful dark purple Maypop that a friend in Florida sent me! They are all over it there for her but the mamas ignore it here! Love the flowers, though!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:41PM
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karyn1(7a)

Great pic. I get Variegated Fritillary's, not Gulf Fritts, but they are never in great numbers like I see with the GF's in FL. Are the VF's less prolific then the GF's?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 6:01PM
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karyn1(7a)

Great pic. I get Variegated Fritillary's, not Gulf Fritts, but they are never in great numbers like I see with the GF's in FL. Are the VF's less prolific then the GF's?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 6:02PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

That looks like 'Incense' Lila, which they ignore here, too, until everything else is eaten - then they lay eggs on it. 'Incense' came from a cross between P. incarnata/maypops and P. cincinnata, and they've made the same cross many times since then, with the resulting flowers nearly the same each time. I've had to feed the leaves of it to my cats, because everything else is gone, and they're doing fine on it.
Last year my 'Incense' made some fruit, which had to have been pollinated by the neighboring P. incarnata, since 'Incense' doesn't make its own pollen. Three of the seeds came up, and one of them has been REAL vigorous, growing like a weed. The flowers look just like 'Incense' but I assume the chemical make-up of the leaves must be more like the pollen parent, P. incarnata/maypops, because the gulf frits lay eggs on it right away when they lay eggs on the maypops.

VFs are less prolific here, karyn1, than gulf frits, but sometimes, when the gulf frits aren't here yet and they have the vines to themselves, they can lay a good many eggs, and create many VF butterflies. They'll also use violets, particularly the common, heart-shaped leaf types.

Sherry

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:59PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

MissSherry, isn't 'Incense' the one that carries some kind of mosaic virus? I don't know that the virus is toxic to cats or humans (via the fruit), but just recall reading that the virus can kill the plant eventually. OTOH, I understand there are some 'New Incense' hybrids out there that do not carry the virus.

Some say that the virus can affect other plants around it, and some say it does not. Seems like a lot of research might be in store for someone who really wants an answer to that question.

I don't grow Incense and maybe some who do will respond to these questions.

Susan

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:32PM
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