Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Problems with non-native parsley from Brooklyn NY
June 17, 2012 - Had beautiful flat leaf parsley plants recently turn yellow & die. Found black armadillo like bugs bored throughout the roots. Now they're spreading. How do I kill them without contaminating the pla...
view the full question and answer

Tree with brown spots on leaves containing caterpillars
July 14, 2011 - We have a new little tree we planted in our yard and I went over to admire it and on each leaf there is a brown spot in which little worms are living. They are alive and moving around in the pocket th...
view the full question and answer

Something eating holes in Texas Betony from Austin
June 06, 2012 - What pest is eating holes in the leaves of my Texas Betonys? They look healthy but almost all leaves have various sizes of round holes in them. What is the best cure for this? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Defenses against imported red leaf beetles on lilies
August 06, 2007 - I've recently discovered small red beetles of some kind on my lilies, which they are happily devouring. I've been picking them off with my fingers and squashing them, but I'd like a better alterna...
view the full question and answer

Control of ball moss in oak trees
March 23, 2007 - I live in San Marcos, Texas and I have a two acre lot with lots of oak trees. Most of these trees have so much ballmoss attached to them that the leaves and branches are not visible anymore. Is ther...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.