Hempweed Mikania something or other
Wow, Wow, Wow!!!!

I walked into a little tiny sheltered spot that I check all the time for butterfly photos, and I found this Hempweed in full bloom and butterflies absolutely ALL OVER IT! I felt like I'd walked into a fairy tale.

That's a huge wow for me, because I've had it in my yard for years and I never saw a butterfly use it. I've figured out that they ignore it because it's in a very windy spot. After seeing this, I'll absolutely plant some in a more sheltered place in my yard!

Um, I just looked it up. Perhaps I won't; read on:

Above, a Julia Dryas Butterfly enjoys nectar from Hempweed.

Below, two Zebra Heliconian Butterflies on the right, and a Ruddy Daggerwing Butterfly on the left sip from the questionable vine too:

Julia Butterfly Nectars on Hempweed
Ruddy Daggerwing Butterfly Nectars on Hempweed
Zebra Heliconian Butterflies Nectar on Hempweed
Well, whatever kind of good or bad plant it is, the Cassius Blue Butterfly above, and the White Peacock Butterfly to the right really liked it too! I also saw an Oleander Moth on it, but it flew too high for me to get a photo.

There were all sorts of little bees and other insects as well. The whole plant was just a-buzz with life like some mythical critter banquet at a royal feast. It was amazing to watch! I'll add more pictures as I get time, and update with what I found out about which variety of Hempweed it is.

I surrender! It looks like I'm most likely to have scandens, batataefolia, or cordifolia down here, but there are so many web sites that talk about so many different varieties of Hempweed that I emailed the expert to find out how to tell which one(s) I have and if they're Florida Native Plants or noxious weeds or...   Hopefully he'll email me back and I can post his answer here to clear this up for all of us before we run out to plant it as a fall nectar source. Here's the leaf to help you ID it:
I went to look for the real name for Hempweed, and I've found a lot of references to it.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension publication "50 Common Native Plants Important In Florida's Ethnobotanical History" lists it as Mikania batatifolia. You can click the publication name above to read how it was use by the Indians. They call it a native plant, and imply that it's useful.

Then, to keep life confusing, this document, " FLORIDA
Updated June 2005"
by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry lists Mikania micrantha as a Terrestrial Weed, and sure enough, they link to a "Noxious Weed List" that it's on.

Next I need to figure out if this, and the one in my yard, are the batifilia or the noxious micrantha. Feel free to email me and save me looking it all up if you know!

Cassius Blue Butterfly Nectars on Hempweed
White Peacock Butterfly Nectars on Hempweed
The late blooming time of Hempweed makes it a good food source for butterflies and other bugs. This bee was buzzing happily from flower to flower too.
Hempweed Leaf
Zebra Heliconian Butterfly Nectars on Hempweed
Bee Nectars on Hempweed
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