Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gulf Fritillary

Today I observed a female Gulf Frittilary laying eggs on a leaf of one of the Maypops (purple passion-flower) that I transplanted into the butterfly garden at Clog-house, Est. 1935 this past Spring. Lovely and interestingly complex, passion-flowers invite (if not beg) detailed and lengthy contemplation. Vegetative parts of the plant are an important host to at least two prominent butterfly species in north-central Florida, the Gulf Frittilary and the Zebra-longwing. In this day of butterfly gardening's popularity, I can't see why this institution or any individual would consider it a weed and try to eradicate it from their premises.

I posit that the relegation of this plant to weed status is an artifact of many years of its being so-named in dated textbooks and extension circulars. Websites and articles that quote those references to this day are just perpetuating an old notion rooted in another time. Passion vines are not weeds. They're important butterfly host plants and wildflowers.

My esteemed naturalist colleague and friend "No Thneeds Needed" has superb photos of a Gulf Fritillary and a Maypop flower in his diverse and ever-expanding Flickr galleries. Click on through to his site - he'd love for you to spend some time enjoying the many fine photos of his adventures in Florida and elsewhere. In my experience, he would welcome constructive comments about his images and any kudos you might offer. You'll be well-rewarded for your time and one-finger exertions.

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