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

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 Wildflowers Questions

Native wildflowers and grasses for sunny field in Nashville, TN
October 09, 2005 - I want to plant wildflowers in a sunny field (old pasture land) in Nashville, Tennessee. I plan on killing the existing weeds and tall grasses with roundup this fall and planting native grasses (wha...
view the full question and answer

Define monoculture from St. Croix Falls, WI
May 30, 2014 - What do you call a dense stand or carpet of one species of wildflower? Our botany professor told us but that was 40 years ago!
view the full question and answer

Central Texas wildflowers
March 20, 2004 - How do I propagate specific central Texas wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Will native plants become invasive from Grapevine TX
February 23, 2013 - Main Question - I want to convert my front and back yards into a native plant sanctuary but worry about if these plants growing out of control/invasive and if neighbors will complain about these "wee...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for an outdoor classroom in Bowling Green, Kentucky
February 07, 2009 - We would like to know what types of wildflowers could easily be grown in an outdoor classroom in Bowling Green, KY.
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