The Passion fruit (passiflora edulis) aka “Maypop” is a pretty cool plant. Besides being one of the most beautiful flowering vines I have ever seen it produces an edible and tasty fruit. I had several volunteers come up in the front yard this year and put on fruit.
This summer we noticed what seemed to be a pest showing up in large numbers. Caterpillars were eating many of the passion fruit leaves. I decided to do a little research to see if there was anything I could do to save the plant. Like many plants, I learned the Maypop has a special role in the life cycle of an insect. In this case, the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly. The caterpillars looks pretty intense with thier bright orange body, purple stripes and heavy looking spikes. It’s colors, no dout, to let predators know it’s toxic. The butterfly’s apparently use the passion fruit exclusively as a host plant. Later emerging to create a field of orange wings
I am constantly learning the different plant and animal relationships on our little hill. The more I learn, the more questions I have. One thing is for sure, I am in awe of the innumerable things that happen around here that I am unaware of. I hope as time goes on I will learn to recognize these happenings.
For now, my goal is to build the soil and let mother nature take care of most of the big, and little stuff.