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 Wildflowers Questions

Plants to grow under a black walnut tree in PA
July 03, 2011 - I want to plant some shrubs and flowers in an area with southern exposure that is dry, sunny, and within the drip line of, and partially under a large black walnut tree. I had been told that native pl...
view the full question and answer

Source for dotted blue-eyed grass from Saluda SC
February 23, 2013 - I lived in Texas for several years and now live on acreage in South Carolina. I have heard that bluebonnets don't grow well in South Carolina. However, there is a place by the road near our house t...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for Daleville AL
September 08, 2011 - What wildflowers will grow in Daleville AL, in almost all day sun ? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Gregg's mistflower in Belton, TX
May 02, 2010 - I would like to know how to plant seeds from Gregg's mistflowers. Can the seeds be planted in the spring, and if so, do they need to be prepared first (soaked overnight, etc)?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers blooming in upstate South Carolina from Seneca SC
April 13, 2011 - When do most wildflowers bloom in upstate South Carolina?
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