Pawpaws (Asimina triloba)

Recently while out exploring I noticed a butterfly floating about. It was a zebra swallowtail butterfly which is the Tennessee state butterfly. I've seen them before and so I knew a little about them including one fact in particular, their favorite host plant is the pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba). I've never grown a pawpaw tree but I've heard all kinds of raving comments about pawpaws. Knowing that a zebra swallowtail was present I thought I should continue my exploration and see if I could locate a pawpaw tree. Pawpaws enjoy shady locations in woodland areas that offer good moisture so I went exploring through the woods. Before the leaves had fully emerged this spring I cut a pathway through the woods with my mower. As this was a path of least resistance I journeyed into the woods to see what I could find. I pulled up leaf images of the…

Continue Reading

A Magnificent Monarch on Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Just one really neat sight I saw this weekend was the monarch sipping nectar from the milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Milkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterflies which serves a very important role in the life of the fluttering favorites of backyard butterflies. Milkweed contains a chemical called glycosides which get consumed by the monarch caterpillars (see more here on milkweed). When they grow up this chemical makes the butterflies poisonous to birds and other predators - essentially the milkweed plant becomes a natural defense mechanism. This milkweed was not on the slope of my wild area but at my wife's parent's house on the outskirts of their woodland. Once the flowers turn into seed pods I'll collect them to plant in our natural areas and try to help these magnificent monarchs along!

Continue Reading
Close Menu