My garden is growing caterpillars with a very specific diet. They like passionflower vines. Not red passion flower vines– only white or purple. This isn’t something new. I had caterpillars in the late spring. But it suddenly dawned on me that this is October. That my caterpillars would soon be…
and butterflies that need nectar from flowers– which are getting scarce. So I dashed off to the nursery and restocked the patio with blooming plants. There wasn’t a huge variety but it will do. And the fritillary can withstand temps down to 22*F which we shouldn’t see in an El Nino year.
But just in case, I also decided to do a bit of research about my guests who are eating me out of passionflower leaves and vines and found out that they are actually very special. Most winter-over in Florida, but they have been in CA since the late 19th century. They reached my neck of the woods by 1908 and seemed to do well until 1971 when they were thought to be extinct. But then in 2009 Gulf Fritillary appeared around Sacramento. Apparently they have been on the move because here they are in Sonoma County :-).
So the Gulf Fritillary is a comeback kid. Does anyone else have them in their gardens? If so, where are you?