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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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