Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stunning Butterfly Host

When I say stunning, I'm not talking about the heliconus butterflies but instead their host plant, Passion Vine or May-pops.    There are many varieties of passion vine and this one is Passiflora incarnata.   It's leaf has three lobes and it's flower is a stunning purple and white beauty.   

Our native passion vine is a host plant to the Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, Julia, and Variegated Fritillary caterpillars.    I'm trying to increase the varieties of butterfly host plants in our yarden and have been wanting this one.   They begin blooming in June so I have been riding the pasture fence lines in search of one.   I know they're there but no luck yet.   This morning as I sat outside enjoying the early morning, I noticed a "weed" in a lantana.  I have to admit that I'm pretty easy on weeds these days but I don't think this weedy vine was there last weekend.   The leaf was not that of the many weeds common in (or taking over) my flower beds so I walked around for a better look - and it's PASSION VINE!   Must be a gift from God. 

As I said, it is growing up amid a lantana.   If I don't move it or give it something to climb on, it will soon cover everything in this bed.   They are vigorous growers that die back in winter.   I guess I'll enjoy it for a few days and then decide whether to train it up the nearby pillars or transplant it in a better spot.

Happy gardening! 

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