En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: Crossville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Yellow butterfly in Tennessee
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Crossville Tenn and am seeing a butterfly that is yellow with a long hanging. What is it and what is it doing?

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants knows a lot about native plants, but he is no expert on insects.  However, he can tell you that yellow butterflies in North America are in the Family Pierideae (whites and yellows) and are often called sulphurs.  There are lots of different species so there is no way I could tell you which of the sulphurs you saw.  Now, about the long hanging you saw—it could be the butterfly's proboscis, it's feeding structure that works sort of like a straw.  When the butterfly is not feeding, the proboscis is curled near the mouth.  You can see the proboscis curled and uncurled for feeding at this link.  Butterflies also have 6 legs that hang down and female butterflies use the ovipositor at the end of their long abdomen to lay eggs on host plants.  Other than these possibilities, I think I would need to see a photo to determine what the long hanging is and what the butterfly is doing.
 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

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

Orange eggs on milkweed plants
October 18, 2012 - Hello I have milk weed in my flower garden. Every year I find small orange 'eggs' on the leaves and stems of the plant. I don't think these are the monarch eggs, but not sure if they are other...
view the full question and answer

Is Tropical Milkweed Harmful to Monarchs?
April 24, 2015 - I believe I recently read that the orange flowering Mexican milkweed carries a virus(?) or something that harms monarch butterflies. What are recommendations if I use this plant in my northern CA yar...
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

What species of Aristolochia occur in Hidalgo County, TX?
August 06, 2009 - What species of Aristolochia or are in the Aristolochiaceae family occur in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, particularly Hidalgo Co., TX. Both Pipevine and Polydamas Swallowtail butterflies occur down h...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center