The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

EVIL plant is…kind of pretty, actually.

When Steve over at Blue Jay Barrens told me that the thorny plant I’d spent so much time cursing was actually the preferred host of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly, I decided that maybe it wasn’t such an evil plant after all.  Then, when he posted an image of the springtime blooms of the Prickly Ash, I decided that it was actually kind of pretty, for all its thorniness.   

Now, Steve’s lovely picture post was dated April 10th.  At that time, my Prickly Ash trees still had small, tight buds which had no intention whatsoever of revealing their softer, prettier side.   I’ve been diligently returning to several stands of Prickly Ash every other day or so since then, hoping to see the blooms first hand.

Finally!  Over two weeks later than at the Barrens, but still lovely:

Although the Giant Swallowtail is only an occasional visitor to my neck of the woods, I’ll still keep an eye out for it.  Butterflies are still scarce here; I spotted an Admiral on the weekend, but otherwise have only seen the odd friendly Pieris sp. White and a handful of flighty and elusive Azures (Celastrina sp).

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6 responses to “EVIL plant is…kind of pretty, actually.

  1. MObugs41 April 29, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    Butterflies have been slow to show up here in NW Missouri too. I’ve spotted a Red Admiral, a few whites and one painted lady. Nothing much else to speak of. Today it is so windy I doubt the butterflies could fly!

  2. Steve Willson April 29, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Lovely photo. As I type this, I’m looking at a healing gash on the back of my wrist caused by our friend the Prickly Ash. They have a lot of positive qualities, but you’ve got to respect those thorns.

  3. Ted C. MacRae April 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    In my area, I’ve seen giant swallowtail larvae feeding on wafer ash (Ptelea trifoliata) – also in the Rutaceae and not a true ash. No thorns, and the trees stay quite small so they’re easy to search (for cerambycids, of which I’ve found four species on the flowers).

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