The purple passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is a native Florida perennial with cool and funky lavender blooms. It blooms through the last spring and summer- if you don’t have too many Gulf Fritillary Butterflies! The attached photo shows our infrequent blooms and the culprit. The Butterfly lays its eggs in the foliage. The hungry caterpillars quickly devour the entire plant and leave us with stems. Just can’t bring ourselves to put pesticide on it to avoid the carnage. The butterflies rely on this plant for its lifecycle. During the summer, the plant makes a few attempts to come back only to be used as a nursery instead.  link to University of Florida extension program with more information on the plant and butterfly life cycle.  The photo of the Gulf Fritillary chrysalis looks exactly like a dried leaf, quite a contrast to the ornate green chrysalis with gold trim of the Monarch Butterfly.  Below is a photo of the bare plant after eggs were hatched and the caterpillars pillaged. You can see the green stems that will come back. The plant is also pretty good at seeding itself (to the right of the base) if it makes it all the way to the flowering stage.IMG_7407

 

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