Found a Chrysalis!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)November 2, 2012

I did some work outside today, and when I was walking down the road with my wheel barrow, I noticed a chrysalis on some dog fennel. I could see right away that it was a buckeye -

I rarely ever find a chrysalis, so this was a treat. I cut off the weed it was on and brought it in to the cage on the porch, so I can see it emerge. Hopefully, it hasn't been parasitized! It obviously came from some agalinis growing in the weed mixture along this road. Dog fennel is a very ugly weed to me, but I leave it, because male scarlet-bodied wasp moths are supposed to spray their mates with poisons they get from the 'flowers' to give them protection against predators. Also, I see a lot of butterflies hanging out on it. I don't know if they're nectaring on the 'flowers' or what.

The latest 'road admiral' that is, a red admiral that hangs out every afternoon on my road, perched on the dog fennel also -

For whatever reason, a male red admiral always claims the road - you can see him on the sand/gravel any evening, and he'll fly off as you approach him. Sometimes, he'll even land on you!

On this warm day, the butterflies were out in numbers, cloudless sulphurs, sleepy oranges, little yellows, many gulf frits, a variegated frit, many checkered skippers, long-tailed skippers and ?fiery skippers, carolina satyrs, but no swallowtails.

The most popular flowers in my garden now are the porterweeds and Brazilian buttons. A beautiful new salvia of mine is blooming now, S. purpurea 'Lavender Lace' but I haven't seen any butterflies on it. Other salvias that are blooming are S. regla, S. guaranitica, S. 'Hot lips' and S. leucantha 'Phyllis Fancy' which is a big favorite, especially among the long-tailed skippers.

Here's a picture I made of a gulf frit nectaring on a Brazilian button -

And here's a variegated frit on the same bush -

And lastly, here's a male checkered skipper on the BB -


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Oh I am so jealous! When "Sandy" came through it got cold enough to knock everything back. We didn't have the foot of snow they got in the Appalachians but some sprinkles. So, no more butterflies right now :(. I laughed when I saw your first picture and comment because I was thinking to myself "What a pretty lacy plant". But I guess if you can grow all those other pretty flowers Dog Fennel wouldn't be exciting. I tried porterweed from seed but my growing season wasn't long enough for it to flower. They never sell it up here as an annual. I may have to try it again. I wonder if the brazilian button would work here. Hmmm...I just read on that other plant site that someone in Ohio has grown it. I might have to try it!

Thanks for the lovely pics and new plant idea.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 7:28AM
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Elisabeth, you might want to start the Porterweed earlier indoors in order for it to bloom. I used to get mine from Bustani's, but now that they've shut down their mail order business, I got this year's Lavender Porterweed from Almost Eden. They have very nice plants. It bloomed all of late spring and is still blooming. Harvesting the seeds is a bit tricky, but I plan to start them indoors about February or March, for planting out around mid-April. I like the Dwarf Red, and it appeals to the larger butterflies, like Monarchs, Gulf Frits, Swallowtails, and Cloudless Sulphurs. The Lavender, however, appealed to all sizes of butterflies. The flowers are more open and accessible IMHO.

MissSherry, cool find! Did you, or are you still, seeing lots of Buckeyes? Swallowtails have been extremely scarce here this year. I have only seen Black Swallowtails on a couple or three occasions. I got out and cut back the Fennel, which is leafing up very nicely this cool time of year. It will overwinter green.

I am still seeing Gulf Frits (still laying eggs), American and Painted Ladies, Clouded Sulphurs have reappeared, and many skippers. I am still feeding Gulf Frit and Vsriegated Frit larvae.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:36AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Susan, I haven't seen lots of buckeyes, but I did see one in the fennel patch area when I made the picture of the road admiral. It flitted off too quickly for me to get its picture, though.
By the way, did you see my thread about the trip? I posted pictures of some strange 'veggies' whose leaves the colonists used to eat. You had said to take note of the garden. If you scroll down, you can find the pictures and info.

Elisabeth, that's too bad your plants got cold zapped!
The Brazilian button is a VERY tough plant. I've been surprised how easy many Brazilian plants are to grow, like BB and Brazilian petunias. They live through the winter here and grow and bloom like weeds!


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:46AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Miss Sherry, this is the time of year we all get envious of you! Porterweed is very easy to start from cuttings. The cutting I got from your plant, Susan, is looking great. I haven't seen any roots yet, but that's because I have it in the wet foam. It will take a while for the roots to get big enough to escape the foam. Also, Brazilian Buttonbush will reseed. I didn't have any this summer, but this fall, I dug up about 8 plants that had germinated to grow over the winter and plant next summer. It doesn't survive our winters. So, it is very easy to grow from seed, but seems to need two seasons, as does Porterweed. I found a nice Porterweed plant out in the garden this fall that I also dug up. I didn't have any Porterweed this year, so this had to have come from seed that fell last year. We had nice rains in September, and quite a few seeds of different plants germinated. I left a lot of seeds from the Aristolochia clematitis on the ground to see if they will germinate. This is another plant that seems to need multiple seasons to germinate. This plant took a long time to get established, but now it is everywhere and produces lots of seed pods.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:23AM
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The heat and drought we've had the last two summers has been tough on my lawn and weeds are taking over. I have a lot more plantain than I used to but seeing more Buckeyes makes me feel better about it. Several made their way towards my patio and retaining wall to make their chrysalises and the side of our retaining wall that faces the southwest was the most popular spot. I found a little row of them there underneath the bricks along the top edge.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:56AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Wow! That's amazing, Christie! I've seen gulf frits lined up on fences, but never buckeyes - congrats, congrats!

Are some of those chrysalides empty? It'll be interesting to see if yours (and mine) overwinter. I've never really known how buckeyes overwinter.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:50PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The buckeye emerged about a week ago, just perfect.

There were many butterflies nectaring in my garden today, the usual fall gulf frits, cloudless sulphurs, sleepy oranges, and a LOT of checkered skippers. So the season's not over yet, even though we've had some pretty cold nights, down into the thirties. It was warm in the middle of the day, though, and we've had no freeze yet.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:50PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a) least you have a shorter winter than we do, MissSherry! I keep thinking each day will be the last to see the butterfies, but just today I saw Sulphurs, Skippers, Gulf Frits (still...don't they realize it is time to fly South?), Dogface, Dainties, Clouded Sulphurs, Blues, etc. I have very few blooms in the garden as of today, so I don't have any idea what is attracting them - a few Golden Crownbeards, a little bit of Lantana that is still green and blooming, but not much. Salvias, and that is it. Zinnias, Cosmos, Sunflowers, butterfly bushes, all are gone til next year.

Congrats on the newly emerged Buckeye!

Christie, now that is a true butterfly nursery there!


    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Nice! It is beautiful weather here in the upper 50's but no butterflies :(. My last caterpillars have gone into chrysalises and I am hoping they do not emerge. Should be a challenge as they are checkered whites and used to a warmer climate.

Thanks for all the encouragement on the plants. I will look for some porterweed and brazilian buttons this winter.

Maybe we will just have to post lots of pictures from this summer to look at and Miss Sherry, Susan, and Sandy will have to post from the warmer climates.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:58AM
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