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.

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