Thread: Insects
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Old 2020-09-17, 13:50   #42
Dr Sardonicus
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Feb 2017

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Default The REAL plant experts

I'm generally fairly good -- at least, for a layman -- at plant ID's. With common weeds or garden plants, I can often get the genus right, even if I can't name the species.

But I have just been outclassed by an insect, the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Someone presented me with a "lost" Monarch caterpillar on some kind of bindweed in their garden. No milkweed anywhere near the bindweed plant. They brought it over to my place so if could feed instead on my milkweed.

The bindweed looked like a typical member of the genus Convolvulus which includes field bindweed, and used to include hedge bindweed (which I thought this might be) until it got reclassified.

Then, additional "lost" Monarch caterpillars turned up on the same kind of bindweed.

Finally, when I was faced with clear proof the caterpillar had actually be feeding on that plant, the light bulb flickered on.

It dawned on me that I had better nail down the ID of that bindweed.

I did so. I didn't even have the family right. I thought I was dealing with the morning-glory family Convolvulaceae. The Monarchs know better. The catepillars were feeding on

Honeyvine Milkweed (Cynanchum laeve)

Milkweed Family (Asclepiadaceae)

AKA Ampelamus albidus, Gonolobus laevis, bluevine, climbing milkweed, dog's-collar, Enslen's-vine, honeyvine, honeyvine swallwort, peavine, sandvine, smooth anglepod, smooth swallow-wort.
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