Monday, August 2, 2010

Botany Quiz and a Bonus

Ready to play - What's this plant?

Currently its ripe, red fruits are bursting open and ejecting little black seeds. Here's a hint, those husks smell like citrus!

The big picture.

A medium sized shrub, or very small tree- usually grows no larger than 10-12 foot high.

Small "prickly" needles on the the woody stems.

Uncommon, but certainly not rare in Ohio.

One of the host plants for the Giant Swallowtail, my favorite butterfly!

Got it yet? Prickly-ash, Xanthozylum americanum

And here is the bonus: an early instar Giant Swallowtail caterpillar snacking on one of the thumb-sized leaves. This is the smallest "Giant" I have ever found!

And when you tap him with a stick... (Oh, don't try this at home kids!)
He quickly raises his "stink horns," little glands that secrete a nasty odor and look like a snake's tongue. It is called an osmeterium. And yes, there will be a quiz later!

This is what the little fellow will grow into: a Giant Swallowtail. He is now seven inches of winged wonderful, and a tad more comely than the figure he cut in his awkward youth

Got butterflies? Get host plants!

Hope to see you at the Mid-west Native Plant Conference this weekend. I may even bring this little fellow with me. So follow logo on the side bar for details!

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