Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wildflowers for Wednesday and for Butterflies

I have not been posting for Wildflower Wednesday, as i normally forget the 4th Wednesday of the month. But i remember it when it is not time to post. Now i suddenly realize it and thanks circumstances that tomorrow is the 4th Wednesday. I am in time for the link of Gail's Clay and Limestone. Now the problem is to search for my wildflowers still scaterred in my so many files.

Here are some of them as remnants of our rainy season growths. I warn you they are mostly taken because of butterflies!

Above and Below is Plumbago zeylanica, an endemic white plumbago species in the country. I found this in the wild and amazed that a butterfly is ovipositing on its young flower buds. I have lots of the red plumbago, but i haven't observed any butterflies nectaring on them or any larva eating them.

Zebra Blue or Plumbago Blue, Leptotes plinius leopardus, a lycaenid

 the clump of Plumbago zeylanica

a hover fly and a wasp moth nectaring on the Mikania micrantha

 Mikania micrantha, (Mile-a-minute weed as called in Singapore), is an introduced species, a vine, and as expected from alien species they are very invasive. It can easily kill a native plant that it can totally cover during the rainy season. At least it has some function as nectar plants for the butterflies and other insects.

Dwarf Crow and Grey Glassy Tiger on porter weed, Stachetarpheta jamaicensis

 Glassy Tiger, Parantica vitrina vitrina and Snow Flat, Tagiades japetus titus

 a large clump of porter weed, Stachetarpheta jamaicensis on a fallowed grassy area

a blue weed

this Tiny Grass Blue, Zizina hylax pygmaea, is the tiniest butterfly in my area that is less than a centimeter both in length and in width. It is so frantic and sometimes difficult to photograph as it alights again after minutes. But when it is still early they can be easily posing with the camera and later when they feed and oviposit on the very short grasses. 

 this is the NOID blue flowers with also very short stems

Aerva lanata (Amaranthaceae), only a few insects alight on them, yet i find them pretty too. We have lots of this in our property and on adjacent uncultivated lands. I just realized upon learning its name that it has lots of medicinal properties and antioxidant components. There are even dried plants being sold formally in the internet and on ebay. 

Aerva lanata growing abundantly in our property

Another low weed that flowers profusely and loved by tigers and skippers. This Grey Glassy Tiger, Ideopsis juventa manillana, kept on coming back and forth from this lump of flowers.

 This is the whole stand of the weed as it starts to produce flowers, just about 2 ft tall. The dry season has started and this seems to be just starting to reproduce. At least the butterflies have alternatives from the flowers that already finished maturity for the rainy season.

Wildflower Wednesday

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Butterflies Galore Again

Our weather conditions these past few days are unexpected, not to many's liking. Last week we were still getting some cold nights and colder easterly winds. By colder i just mean the temperatures are 25C-28°C. For us these temps are already cold because we are accustomed to very hot temperatures during our dry season, everything above 33°C! The sudden change happened in one night, 27°C jumping to 33°C. The sky suddenly became cloudless and it already got uncomfortable outside even just at 8:00 in the morning. Huh!

So last Friday i went home early, Chinese New Year holiday. That means i can be out for butterflies early the next 2 days. I made sure to have coffee and one little bread at 6:00 a.m. to see the butterflies when they are not ready yet for flying, or the water vapor in the air still hinders their wings for easy movement. But conditions really changed, because even at this early their wings are already dry! That makes photographing them very difficult! They did not allow me to come nearer.

But of course, that will not stop me from chasing them, or maybe even just observe. However, i realized they are already very few, so i just content on whatever is available, even if my previous files are already filled with them. So here are some of them, in the group called the BLUES in Lycaenidae, Lycaeninae, Polyommatini.

Zizula hylax pygmaea Snellen 1876
Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini

Please excuse me for putting a lot of them above, as they really are plenty roaming among the small grasses and weeds. These weeds are the most resistant to dry conditions, so they can raise a lot of the Tiny Grass Blues, Zizula hylax pygmaea. The species connotes their very small size, that is, length of their wings and even the length is less than one centimeter. It might be a challenge to follow them as they don't easily land on a leaf again after leaving one. And of course their size always challenges my already not so perfect vision.

The Lesser Grass Blue, Zizula otis oriens,  is also a small one but bigger than the Tiny Grass Blue. They have the same habitat and sometimes share a host plant, so seeing one will also lead you to the other. Although this is not as plenty as the first in one time, suggesting that they don't share all host plants. So far i have only seen it in one host plant in contrast with the first that i've seen in at least 3 host plants. 


Euchrysops cnejus cnejus Fabricius 1798 

Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini

GRAM BLUE (female)
Euchrysops cnejus cnejus Fabricius 1798 
Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini

 GRAM BLUE (male)
Euchrysops cnejus cnejus Fabricius 1798 
Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini

Jamides celeno lydanus Fruhstorfer 1910
(Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini


Jamides bochus pulchrior Grose-Smith 1895 
Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini


Catochrysops strabo luzonensis Tite 1959
Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini

You might also smile at their names, Forget-me-not and Silver Forget-me-not. The authors of those names are not the same and the latter might be funny, naming the latter discovery based from the first. They might not be forgotten but they are very difficult to differentiate from each other. Even if i already know how to distinguish the differences, i am still not confident that i will be correct everytime.


Catochrysops panormus exiguus Distant 1886
Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini


Catochrysops panormus exiguus Distant 1886
Lycaenidae; Lycaeninae; Polyommatini

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Blooms in February 2018

I have again missed posting for GBBD last month.  It is okay, as those blooming then are still blooming today. No worries. That is the beauty of not having snow or cold front that might suddenly  or inadvertently destroy the plants. Ours will remain there as long as they have not reached their full maturity, true for annuals. And the perennials will still be there for years! I don't know if that is boring, but these are good for not so diligent gardeners like me.

These are late bloomers for the rainy season, as they will be reaching the dry season before they finally succumb to the strong very hot climate.  They are introduced species and i suppose they (above and below) belong to the Justicia family or shrimp plants. Those showy colorful parts are modified leaves called bracts, while the real flowers are colored yellow.

 Those yellow parts are actually the real flowers. I suppose the red bracts could either be for attraction to pollinators or for physical protection too.

 when plenty and becoming unrully they are not very beautiful, seemingly disorganized

Pentas lanceolata  is a sure attraction for butterflies especially for this Scarlet Mormon. It comes to the garden specifically only to eat from this red blooms.

Not many butterflies love the bougainvillea blooms, i suppose because of that long tube-like structure supporting the flower. The butterfly proboscis has to be long and steady to reach the inner portion of the flower which has the nectar.  Again, like the previous photos, those showy leaves are the bracts, or modified leaves. 

This is red plumbago, Plumbago indica. The spikes are unruly too as they are born at the tip of long pliant stems. But when groomed together in a common area, they are also attractive and present a different arrangement on their own. However, i haven't seen any butterfly alighting on them.

You might say we only have the reds and the orange, but we also have the yellows and the light greens. Above is locally called akapulco, Cassia alata. It becomes a small short tree, but when pruned back before the rainy season they produce short branches like this. They are favorites of bees and butterflies. It is even a host for at least two of our pierid butterflies, the Mottled Emigrant and a yellow. 
 Above is the inflorescense of the variegated Alternanthera. It also gets too tall for soft stems, so they just fell down to the sides when there is nothing rigid to lean on to. We just cut and throw them away. 

 This is a new plantlet born at the end of a stolon of the spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum. It is called spider plant because of the proliferation of those stem-like growths born at the tips. They are left dangling from the main plant so look sort of chandelier-like. It is nice when planted in a hanging basket.

It belongs to the lily family, and the dainty flowers are so lovely just like the lilies. The long hanging anthers with the elongated stamens are so dainty too.

 Above might not be considered ornamental plant. It however is a good feed for ruminants being proteinaceous. The long spikes of pocket bracts have the seeds inside. They are nice looking when starting to dry and become brown.

 I personally prefer it at the above stage or maturity, when they are starting to dry but there are still some immature green ones. 

The whole plant at the still green maturing stage. I just observed our common lycaenid ovipositing on it. That will make it a favored plant for me from now on, Flemingia strobilifera.