Tag Archives: Crown Flower

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar on a Hawaiian Crown Flower leaf

Yesterday, I posted about Aphis nerii aphids descending on a Hawaiian Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea). After they were gone the plant continued to do well for a day or two. Then holes started to appear in the leaves and arcs along the edges.

Closer examination revealed a couple of tiny Monarch Butterfly caterpillars munching their way around the leaves. The Crown Flower is a favorite host for these caterpillars, so this wasn’t a surprise. We were also keen to provide an area for the Monarchs to thrive in. So we let the caterpillars be and monitored the situation.

What happened, not surprisingly, is that the caterpillars grew quickly. As they did so, the leaves of the plant diminished accordingly. I was gone for my weekend, and when I returned, the caterpillars had more than doubled in size. The plant though looked like someone had gone at it with a machete. We wondered if the caterpillars would devour the whole thing before they pupated.

When I returned to work after another weekend, the caterpillars were gone. As the Crown Flower was food for the caterpillars, so it appeared, the caterpillars were food for the numerous birds in the area.

The plant will likely recover from its ravishing and, once it’s bigger, it might be better able to accommodate the attentions of these caterpillars and in turn provide more cover for them from the birds. Or not! I will monitor the situation.

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (see more responses here).

A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar on a Hawaiian Crown Flower leaf

Aphis nerii aphids

Aphis neni aphids on a Hawaiian Crownflower leaf
Aphis neni aphids on a Hawaiian Crownflower leaf

I like hiking, as indicated by my last few posts, but I’m equally happy with a walk around the yard, at home or at work.

Recently, we planted a Hawaiian Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea) at work. This was a stick with two small leaves on top. The two leaves dried up and the stem turned brown. It looked doomed, but then new leaves popped out near the bottom and the plant took off. New leaves every day, steady growth.

Then one day these showed up, little yellow drops, like tiny lemon candies. Close examination revealed legs and heads. Aphids! I think these are Aphis nerii, otherwise known as the Oleander or Milkweed aphid. These little sap suckers can do a lot of damage so we hosed them off, though I doubt the ladybug in the bottom photo was best pleased since aphids are a tasty meal for them.

Still, with the aphids gone, the plant continued to thrive until … (to be continued)

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).

Aphis neni aphids on a Hawaiian Crownflower leaf