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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.

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

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Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Passion for passionflower
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

We have passionflower vine on our trellis. We planted the vines about 3 weeks ago. they grew well and started to flower. Recently a number of the vines began to wither while others are ok. The plants have been watered regularly but not over-watered. Today I noticed some small caterpillars on the leaves . They are 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long and orange. We live in Austin Texas

ANSWER:

Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower) is the larval food source for a number of different butterflies including Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, Crimson-patch longwing, Red-banded hairstreak, Julia butterfly and Mexican butterfly. The gulf fritillary is a likely suspect as it has an orange caterpillar and is common in this area.


Passiflora incarnata

 

 

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