NOOOO, Stop, Don't pull this weed! Your butterfly caterpillars
will prune it for you if you just let it grow a bit, and you'll get to
enjoy watching them in your yard.
This plant is Passiflora suberosa, commonly known as Corky Stem Passion
Vine. It gets tiny green flowers that are about the size of an adult
I've put passion vines all over my yard because
three different kinds of
large beautiful butterflies
lay eggs on them here in South Florida.
Planting the right passion vine is one of the easiest ways to make your
yard a butterfly habitat if these butterflies are native to your area.
Here are two Zebra Heliconian butterflies
laying eggs on a Passiflora
Passiflora suberosa, or corky stem passion vine, has a wide variation in leaf shape.
Some leaves are pointy ovals, but others are trilobed. These pictures might
help you find this vine so that you can transplant it to a suitable place in your yard
instead of mowing it.
If those leaves aren't different enough to be tricky, check out these
extremely trilobed leaves:
If their host plant
is available, the
will find it. Here is a butterfly
egg on Corky Stem Passionvine:
The eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars
that eat their host plant
, in this case Passiflora suberosa, for a
couple of weeks before they become a chrysalis and finally a
. This caterpillar nibbling on the
vine will become a Gulf Fritillary butterfly
This caterpillar is ok to pick up, as are the
I've found so
far. Moth caterpillars
give you a sting, so it is always best to do some research before
picking up living things.
After the flowers bloom and get pollinated, tiny green fruits begin to
develop. They turn a deep purplish black when they are ripe.
Passiflora suberosa is called Corky Stem Passionvine because after the
plant is a couple of years old, the mature vine looks somewhat like
Butterfly Caterpillar eating Passiflora suberosa:
Any plant provides cover, so bugs like this green
beneath a leaf. It blends in well on the vine; the spider's legs
resemble the twisted and spiraled tendrils of vine that attach it to
whatever it grows over.
Another visitor that you're likely to find on Corkey Stem is the
Leaf Footed Bug
This vine has both pointy oval and trilobed leaves growing within inches
of each other. Some of the trilobed leaves are missing a lobe; does that
make them bilobed?
Here is another Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar. I did some severe pruning
and I was happy to see leaves sprout from the cork-like old vine I'd
pruned back to.