Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Great Southern Whites by Linda Evans, Photos by Hank Poor

A newly emerged adult Great Southern White.

Often, when driving down to Everglades National Park or driving through south Miami-Dade County's agricultural area, the Redlands, you will see beautiful, white butterflies dancing in the air. 

In these areas, the Great Southern White uses the weed, Peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum) as its host plant. 

Great Southern White eggs
are laid in batches
They also use Saltwort (Batis Maritima), Coastal Searocket (Cakile lanceolata), Limber Caper (Capparis flexuosa), Arugula (Eruca sativa), Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), and Collard Greens (Brassica oleracea var. acephala).
Caterpillars feed communally
- here feeding on Collard Greens

When recently doing a NABA count at the Kampong, David Fairchild’s former home in Coconut Grove, we noticed that these beautiful butterflies were using a vine which had been growing there for more than 30 years according to Larry Schockman, the former director.

A caterpillar & a chrysalis
side by side on a Collard
Ritchiea reflexa from W. Tropical Africa was hosting more than 50 caterpillars and 67 butterflies which were added to the count. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is planning to get cuttings of this vine in the Caper family from the Kampong to add to their Butterfly Garden.
Ritchiea reflexa at the Kampong
attracts Great Southern Whites

Hank and Mary Ann Poor attracted the Great Southern White by growing Collard Greens in their garden. Hank’s expert photography documented the life cycle from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly with his magnificent photos. 
A handsome male nectaring
on the all-time favorite,
Bidens alba,
or Spanish Needle.

Whether you choose weeds, flowers or vegetables, you too can have this magnificent butterfly in your yard.