Butterfly & Garden Pictures

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)September 14, 2011

Sleepy oranges are the most reliable, year-round butterflies here. There are several cats on my two Cassia bicapsularis/Christmas cassia plants. I've got one partridge pea/Chamaecrista fasciculata plant in my garden, in bloom, with many pea pods forming on it, but there's not a single egg or cat on it - same with my buttered popcorn cassia/C. elegans? So I won't replant the popcorn cassia - even a light freeze will reputedly kill even the roots - and I'll plant the seeds of the partridge peas in the meadows. Maybe sulphurs will use it eventually. I also found a volunteer Chamaecrista nictitans along my road, but there are no cats on it either. Here's a sleepy orange cat - I'm assuming it's a sleepy orange and not a cloudless sulphur, because I don't see any blue along the yellow line -

I released four male monarchs today, and I released one male and one female earlier. There are about seven more chrysalides in the cage, and there are also a good many cats on the milkweed/Asclepias curassavica outside. They've about stripped it to the bone, so, if there's not enough of it, I'll put the cats on some honeyvine that's growing on the fence. I know they won't like it, but it's all I've got left. Here's a monarch cat -

I've got an orange tree in my garden, and the oranges are growing good - they should ripen in October or November. Here's a section of the tree - you can see the popcorn cassia at the bottom of the picture. I had to prop it up on the orange tree, because it kept falling over, another reason I don't like it.

Pipevine swallowtails, cloudless sulphurs and gulf fritillaries are everywhere now. The pipevine swallowtails have eaten nearly every leaf of aristolochia out there - fortunately, new growth is coming on. The gulf frits, likewise, have eaten most of the passionvines down to the nubs. I've been moving the cats who are left on skeleton vines to my P. 'Incense' which they don't like as well as P. incarnata, but they will eat and finish their life cycle out on. I've also been moving the little ones to the P. Lavender Lady - it's leaves are smaller and more tender. I'm finding chrysalides everywhere, on the casing around the windows, under a table on the porch, and all over the fences. Here's one that emerged this morning -

I saw a female red admiral laying eggs on the false nettles in my garden a few days ago. I also saw a question mark flitting around the false nettles on the east side of the house, but I didn't see any egg-laying. Hopefully, it was a female, and she left some eggs. I saw a red admiral in the trees (magnolia and yaupon) by the nettles, which is where the females usually hang out -

And I finally got a picture of the latest "road admiral" late yesterday afternoon. Every afternoon a RA, undoubtedly a male, perches in the rocks on the road. Some of these road admirals are friendly and will land on your arm or your clothes. This guy is a little more stand offish, but he let me get close enough to get his picture. Red admirals sure look different on the underside, don't they?


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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

Just beautiful, Sherry!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 8:54PM
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bev2009(6 IN)

You have such variety...I am totally jealous!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 8:59PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)


A red-spotted purple was hanging out in the cherry tree by the front porch again today - still haven't found any eggs/cats, though -


    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 10:11PM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

Hey thanks for all the great pics and I am especially glad to see that sulphur pic, since it looks just like one I found the other day and brought in. I've been too busy to post his photo for ID but that looks just like him! We get lots of orange barred and a number of cloudless but this one did not appear as either.
And the plant I found him on is a volunteer that I recognized as a cassia/senna possibly, and it comes up by the mail box once in a while, but this is the first cat I've seen on it. I'll call it the sleepy cassia now. It never seems to get more than a couple of feet high, like a little shrub, but apparently made seeds and came back.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:08PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The little volunteer is probably C. obtusifolia/sicklepod, Kelly - it comes up everywhere. I dug some up one year, planted them in my garden and fertilized them - they grew about 6'X5' in size, so they can get bigger than roadside size. Sleepy oranges are very common and they love sicklepod.

My four buckeyes have started to emerge. I got this picture of one of them -

When I took the picture of the buckeye, a gulf frit flew in to nectar, so I took its picture -

I went to the garden to move some monarch cats off the skeletal MW to some honeyvine. While out there, I saw this cute little checkered skipper -


    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 1:39PM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

Thanks, yes that does seem to match C. obtusifolia. Love learning something new. I've noticed it there before but not sure if it dies out and comes back or what, it's been kind of hidden in the mounds of beach sunflower by my mailbox and I have not paid much attention. Now I'll be keeping a closer eye for cats and maybe more plants.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 2:53PM
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How fun for you, love the photos! You do have a variety of butterflies. I only saw a couple of painted ladies this year, alot of white sulfer butterflies (probably because we had planted brocolli) and just few smaller butterflies and then of course, the Monarch. I am dissapointed that I did not see many Painted Ladies. When we lived in town, I would have 100's around my zinnias.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 5:50AM
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Love all your photos with the new camera, MissSherry! I've had no Sulphurs since spring here. Dratted drought!

My Senna bicapsularis or Xmas Cassia reseeds here like mad, even though it is an annual in our zone. I have to be diligent about removing seedlings or they would all grow en masse and take over all my other flowers. It can be a beast in the garden. But, compared to my perennial S. hebecarpa, the foliage holds up better for cuttings to feed the Sulphur larvae that use both as a host plant.

No GFs for us this year. It has been downright cold the last 2 nights - in the 50s. Much need rain has fallen. The garden looks much happier. My Passiflora incarnata has completely taken over everything in its path. Next year I will keep it trimmed back. I kept thinking I was going to get GFs to eat it back. That's what I get for "thinking".

Love those little Checkered Skippers. Saw nary a one this year. But saw very few butterflies period.

Keep posting - love your pics!


    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 8:18AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Love your pics Sherry, and it sure does look like a Sleepy Orange cat to me. I have lots of them here, and they lay on my Sicklepod Senna. This year, for the first time, I grew Candlestick Cassia, Velvet leaf Senna, and Common Tree Senna, and interestingly, the butterfly mamas seem to prefer to lay on their usual Sicklepod Senna. I can take the cats into the tent with the other host plants and they will eat them, but I don't see much egg laying upon the new plants in the yard.
It has really been a very dry butterfly season for me. I hardly see any large butterflies in the yard. No Gulf Frits yet and no eggs on the Passionvine. No Monarchs yet, and no eggs on the Milkweed. No Spicebushes yet, and no eggs on the Spicebush. I have seen ONE Pipevine in the yard, but no eggs or cats on the Pipevines. It's just a sad sad tale to tell. I have pulled 15 Black Swallowtail cats from the yard. That is it, other than the many many Sleepy Orange cats and a few Cloudless cats. Time is running out for me, and I hope that some butterflies show up here soon. You are really blessed with your wide variety of egg laying butterflies. :o)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 10:10AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, all!
Angie, I'm wondering if the tornadoes last spring ruined your butterfly season. They came in April, early enough to have destroyed many overwintering chrysalides. If this is the case, butterflies will have to gradually move in from surrounding areas and repopulate your area. We lost many big moths after Katrina in 2005, and I didn't get question mark, viceroy, or variegated frit eggs/cats until this year, six years later.

Susan, I saw on TV where Texas got some rain, and I hoped that included Oklahoma. My passionvines went nearly untouched last year, but this year, all the P. incarnata is skeletonized - and there's a LOT of it - the P. Lavender Lady is nearly so, and there's only a little P. Incense left. So maybe next year they'll return to your garden.

You had 100 painted ladies around your zinnias, minrose?
Minnesota must be the Texas of certain butterflies! Like with your monarchs, those are amazing numbers!


    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 11:34AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Oh gosh, I hadn't thought of that Sherry. Yes, we did have a terrible tornado come through my town on April 27th. Maybe that is the answer. I have been shocked and dismayed by the lack of butterflies in my yard, and it is a yard with plenty to offer to them.~~Angie

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 11:08AM
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Yes, yes, yes - we finally got rain! Yesterday, Mama Monarch was still hanging out, but she has layed very few eggs. What up, Mama?

Also...........drum roll, please..........I had my FIRST CLOUDLESS SULPHUR! A big, beautiful female! I hoped she would lay eggs on the Xmas Cassia, but no. It was enuff to just see her!

I also had a White-Lined Sphinx nectaring all over the yard. What a beauty! She particularly loved Pyramid Bush, Melochia tomentosa. I love, love, love, this small southern Texas and southern Florida native. I hope I can collect some seeds. It is hardy to zone 8a, and grows from a tap root. Maybe I'll get lucky and it will winter over????? Anyway, the little butterflies, bees, and now the Sphinx Moth, love it - who wouldn't? - it's in the CHOCOLATE family for Pete's sake. Nothing bothers it, it is drought tolerant even at an early stage when most plants need water to become established. As one person put it (on another forum), it contributes to wildlife cover, soil stability, and bio-diversity. This a must have plant for me. It starts blooming when temps get hot - 90s - and never stops. It should do well in a wildscape garden as well.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but some of us are always on the look-out for new plants in the garden.

Anyway, things are looking up here in Oklahoma for our wildlife! I have tons of finches right now on the Sunflowers - both House and Gold. The hummers are in love with the Salvia darcyi. It has the BIGGEST blooms on a Salvia that I have ever seen, and bright, billiant red. It is hardy to zone 7.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 11:54AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'm going to look up that Melochia tomentosa, Susan.
I love new butterfly plants!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 8:07PM
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