by Donna Lewis
On the morning of September 4, 2021, I got to witness a miracle.
On our front porch, a new Gulf Coast Fritillary butterfly hatched. After a few hours it had pumped its wings up and was waiting to dry enough so it could take its place among the other pollinators that are here in Milam County. What a neat way to start the day.
We will need many more of these and other pollinators to help feed the world, and provide beauty for all of us.
The Gulf Fritillary uses the passion vine for its host plant. The female will lay her tiny eggs in the tendrils of the vine. When they hatch, they will eat the leaves and buds until they are ready to go to sleep in a chrysalis and awaken to become the beautiful butterfly we know.
Orange and silver, they are easily recognized. The new butterfly will spend its winters in the most Southern states and in Mexico. It can not survive freezing weather.
While the passion vine is its host plant many of our common summer plants are its nectar choices: butterfly bush, coneflowers, lantana, zinnias, and salvia to name a few.
So enjoy them while the weather is warm.