Under The Jakfruit Tree

I took a ride around the nursery today, and the Aristolochia vine on the south fence caught my attention. Aristolochia is a genus of woody vines commonly called, Dutchman’s Pipe or Pipe Vines.  This is due to the shape of the flower resembling a pipe in the species ringens.  Many butterfly enthusiasts in South Florida grow this vine for the larval food of the Polydamus Swallowtail (Battus polydamus), sometimes called the Gold Rimmed Butterfly.  A black butterfly with gold around the wings and no extended ‘tails’ on the hind wings.  It is the only eastern United States Swallowtail without tails. The larvae or caterpillars of this butterfly, is what caught my eye this morning, along with the flower of course. The caterpillars aren’t the most attractive as caterpillars go, but they feed in an interesting pattern. They line up in a row devouring leaf after leaf. Richard Lyons’ Nursery has two species of Aristolochias in 3gal. containers, including, A. ringens.

Under the Jakfruit Tree

It is a good time of year to check in on another winter bloomer that attracts hummingbirds, the Powderpuff shrub (Calliandra). Attaining a height of 6-12′, the red and white varieties only bloom in the winter, while the pink variety blooms year round. Richard Lyons Nursery has all three varieties for sale.

Under The Jakfruit Tree

As I sit here writing this, I look out the window to a very dreary drizzly day with temperatures only in the upper 50s to low 60s and no sunshine to be seen anywhere. Still, unlike the northern states which are in the middle of their winter with all plants dormant, we still have many trees and shrubs in bloom. The Hong Kong Orchid tree (Bauhinia blakeana), with its pinkish-purple blossoms attracts hummingbirds in droves. Also, a relative of the Hong Kong Orchid tree, the Butterfly Orchid tree (Bauhinia divaricata), is also blooming now with pinkish-white stringy blossoms. This too is an excellent hummingbird nectar source, as well as a nectar source for our local butterflies. One more important nectar source for hummingbirds and butterflies which is often overlooked is Bougainvilleas. This is due to people associating this plant with long thorny unruly canes. However, there are so many cultivars and hybrids to choose from that are thornless, or more shrub like, or even somewhat dwarf in growth habit that can be used in the landscape, or even large decorative planters.

Unseasonably Warm – Under the Jakfruit Tree

We have been experiencing unseasonably warm weather which is unusual for this time of year. 
As a result many of the trees and plants are growing more than usual. 
Remember to keep your plant well hydrated. The humidity  is low as do evaporation is high. 
We are presently harvesting Jujube, Carambola, Sapodilla and Bananas. 
In addition we have several varieties of herbs ready for sale. 
Come on down we will tour the nursery in a golf cart and show you many of our trees when full grown. 
Several of our flowering trees are in bloom,  for example the true Hong Kong Orchid tree. Bauhinia Blakeana which in the #1 tree to attract Humming Birds. 

Until next time

Richard