Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Friday - October 10, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Bright yellow butterfly in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Mike Quinn

QUESTION:

What is the name of the small bright yellow butterfly that is dancing all over Austin at this time of year?

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants' expertise isn't really in identifying insects, but Mr. SP has some great friends who ARE experts.  I contacted Mike Quinn, who is the president of the Austin Butterfly Forum and Invertebrate Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Here are the species he told me that are about now:

Little yellows (Pyrisitia lisa) are the ones in largest numbers right now.  Here are more photos.

There are a few Sleepy orange (Abaeis nicippe) about and here are more photos.  

There are also some Southern dogface (Zerene cesonia), however they are a bit large for what you are seeing, I think. 

There are also a few Cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae) still about.  Here are more photos.

Here are a couple of guides that Mike recommended:

1.  Butterflies Through Binoculars, The West
Jeffrey Glassberg, 2001.
Oxford University Press, Oxford. 384 pp.

2. Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)
Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman. 2003. 2006.
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 384 pp.
 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Texas native variety of butterfly weed
November 19, 2008 - Which variety of Butterfly Weed is the native Texas variety? I want to know which one supplies the proper defense against birds to the Monarch butterfly through it's nectar? I have heard that the n...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to replace non-native Pentas plant in butterfly garden
March 25, 2010 - Can you suggest a Native alternative to Pentas? a freeze killed mine and if a native plant can fill that nectar/color void in my garden I'd appreciate it. thanks for all that y'all do.
view the full question and answer

Butterfly garden in Austin
May 28, 2008 - I am located in North Central Austin, and just bought a house with a large back yard. One half is shade-part sun, and the other half is full sun. The shade from three large (55-60) foot trees. I am...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for Globe Thistle in Virginia
June 15, 2013 - Hi, We are trying to get our garden to be 100% North American Native and are at about 90% native to our region. One of the last plants we have to replace is our Globe Thistle. Do you have a good r...
view the full question and answer

Will Butterfly Plant Survive in Mansfield, Texas
January 06, 2012 - I have a butterfly plant that was very successful (about 4 feet tall) right up until the cold snap three weeks ago. I've read they have a tap root, so I'm hoping it will come back next spring. Mea...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.