En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - What insect eats Alamo Fire blue bonnets from League City TX

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

Monday - June 10, 2013

From: League City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Wildflowers
Title: What insect eats Alamo Fire blue bonnets from League City TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What insect eats Alamo Fire blue bonnets? Something seems to be eating new seedpods.

ANSWER:

From Aggie Horticulture, here is an article on Alama Fire bluebonnets. This is apparently a selection of Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet). The color showed up in the wild and growers have continued to breed for the color. If the flowers accidentally cross breed with the original blue flowers, the red ones may revert to the blue.

As to what is eating the seedpods, we can only check and see what eats the bluebonnet seeds pods this time of year. In a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question we found this statement:

"A few insects also eat the plant. For instance, the bluebonnet is larval food host for Northern Cloudywing, Gray Hairstreak, Henry's Elfin, Painted and American Lady, and Orange Sulphur butterflies. (Caterpillar Food Plants for Central Texas by Mike Quinn, Texas Parks and Wildlife)."

We tried finding some pictures in our Image Gallery that pertained to this question (below). The first two are pretty pale pink precursors to the red bluebonnet. The last definitely shows something eating the seeds. You can enlarge the picture by clicking on it, and it sure looks like caterpillars to us.

So, here's the thing. The bluebonnet (even when it's red) is a tough Texas native survivor. There are always going to be things that are going to chew on plants, but we all like the butterflies, too, don't we? We wouldn't recommend spraying, as you might kill some beneficial pollinators in the process. Leave them alone and it will be interesting to see what color flowers you get next March from the seeds that are dropped.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Pests Questions

Caterpillars on Mountain Laurel from Austin
July 25, 2013 - My 1-yr old mountain laurel has been decimated by small yellow and black catepillars. It recovered a bit and pushed out some fresh new growth, and more came and decimated that too. Are these caterpi...
view the full question and answer

Identification of strange tiny creature in plant water
January 14, 2010 - I have a house plant rooted in water. I has been for over a year and the plant seems healthy, I change the water often and keep it clean. I now have noticed that something is growing it. A fish type o...
view the full question and answer

Larvae infesting Mexican white oak
December 16, 2010 - What larvae/worm would dwell and eat the inside of a Mexican White Oak? I planted one last November and it was doing great. The bark started cracking towards the bottom but the top was very full & gre...
view the full question and answer

Possible freeze damage in Wax Myrtle from last winter in Bastrop, TX
July 25, 2011 - Our Wax Myrtle is about 7 yrs old and in good shape until this past winter when we had several very hard freezes. Now several of the large branches are dead and more are dying each month. We have not ...
view the full question and answer

Topical treatment for poison ivy rash
November 12, 2008 - I would like to know a topical treatment for the poison ivy rash
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center