Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Passiflora caerulea

Passiflora caerulea is a vine native to South America that serves as a host plant for Gulf Fritillaries. My vine is about 4 years old and has grown quite large, winding through nearby privets and wisteria. It is supposedly semi-evergreen here but I have never had it lose leaves due to frost, possibly due to the protective properties of the privet.

I find the flowers fantastically amazing but must admit that 20 years ago I thought them weird, almost fake looking, and wasn't interested in them. Now I keep taking photos of them because they ARE so weird and fake looking.  Tastes change I guess!

Passiflora winds through surrounding plants or supports and clings by way of tendrils that are quite strong.  It also produces massive quantities of orange fruit which is disappointingly bland and unappealing.  But those amazing flowers and disappointing fruits are not the reason I love my passiflora. That would be this: 

My vine is crawling, and has been for months, with gulf fritillary caterpillars.

Any chomped leaves (and there are lots of chomped leaves making me glad the passiflora winds through the wisteria rendering it less noticeable) are an easily made sacrifice. Because after they crawl around a while they find a convenient branch, hang upside down, and shed their skin one last time.

And they keep metamorphosing into this!

This post is part of Wildflower Wednesday, hosted by Gail at Clay and Limestone. For more posts about (mostly) wildflowers click on that link!


CommonWeeder said...

Weird and wonderful - my favorite combo. Beautiful photos.

Gail said...

Absolutely perfect...I love this butterfly and the photo of shedding skin is marvelous. gail

Lea said...

Great photos!
I especially like the curling tendrils!
Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

Rose said...

The blooms are certainly weird and yet appealing. But I agree the best part of this plant would be all these caterpillars. Great photos of its stages on the way to becoming such a beautiful butterfly!

Shirley said...

Beautiful images of the flower and the butterfly.