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.
Zebra Heliconian Butterflies
on the right, and a Ruddy
Daggerwing Butterfly on the left sip from the questionable vine
Well, whatever kind of good or bad plant it is, the
Cassius Blue Butterfly
above, and the White Peacock
to the right really liked it too! I also saw an
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
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, "
SUMMARY OF PLANT PROTECTION REGULATIONS
Updated June 2005" by the Florida Department of Agriculture and
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!
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.