Monday, October 3, 2011

Agalinis Fall Host to Buckeye Butterflies

Last spring I wrote about Toadflax as a Host for Buckeye Butterflies.

Buckeye butterflies Junonia coenia are willing to lay eggs on different host plants, unlike some that will use only one plant, like those that use only a certain species of passion vine. The common element is that the plants that Buckeyes choose contain a certain glycoside that is a deterrent to predators.

According to Georgia Wildlife Federation, Buckeye hosts include: Ruellia, Penstemon, Snapdragon, Toadflax (Linaria canadensis), Chelone.

False Foxgloves (Gerardia) Agalinis sp. which
 bloom in September here are popular fall hosts.

An interesting thing about Agalinis is that it is a parasite on the roots of certain trees, including Sweetgum, Sycamore and Slash Pine. They are not thought to be a threat except possibly to second year growth in tree plantations.

When I was out this afternoon looking at October plants in the wild, I noticed these on Agalinis:
Buckeye caterpillar.

Buckeye on Tithonia.

It isn't cold enough here yet to discourage Gulf Fritillaries. Sulphurs and Buckeyes will be with us until frost. Tiny skippers and some others are still out. It has been an excellent butterfly year.

My plan for next year is more Lantana montevidensis along with the usual Tithonia, Porterweed, and Pentas. I've already taken cuttings of the last two. Tithonia reseeds easily and Lantana is perennial here. The wild Lantana still had dark swallowtails when I checked on it today. They flew before I got a picture, so I'll show you what I did get.

Wild Lantana, Solidago and Eupatorium havanense.
This is the first year I've seen White Mist Flower. 
Secrets of a Seedscatterer         


  1. I did not know that about the Buckeye. I usually find them sunning in the dirt at the farm. I will have to pay more attention where they lay eggs now. Word for Wednesday is up if you want to link in your previous repose post.

  2. Smart of the buckeye to be a little more diverse where they will lay eggs. The common element also shows how intelligent these tiny creatures are. Your last picture of the lantana, goldenrod and mist flower is just gorgeous! I would come to your garden if I were a butterfly!

  3. I am going to half to grow some of that Toadflax and other plants. I have never saw one Buckeye butterfly around my garden. Something is going to have to be done about that. LOL!

  4. I was trying to figure out what stripped my pentas?

  5. I see these beauties in the garden very often. I want to add some more of those host plants.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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