Tuesday, August 28, 2012

red admirals in the nettle patch

Thanks to Christopher i found out that my two babies are Red Admiral caterpillars.
I phoned Bruce Bennett the Yukon Botanist, to see if that was the case. He knew of the sightings of Crispin Guppy.
As Bruce himself is more of a botanist (well he is) then a lepidopterist. we started talking plants, stinging nettles in this case. Utrica dioica.
As the nettle is not very common in the Yukon, i always wondered if my nettles had travelled here with me from Holland 20 years ago.  I look after my  patch diligently, otherwise it would be overrun by Fireweed.
Bruce told me the European nettle is actually different then the North American one.
the European: Utrica dioica ssp dioica
ours in the Yukon: Utrica dioica ssp gracillis
Which one  is the one that grows in my garden?
I found the following article: Similar Species: The uncommon European variety of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica var. dioicaor Urtica dioica spp. dioica, often referred to simply as Urtica dioica; European stinging nettle, common nettle, hokey pokey, devil's leaf, naughty man's plaything) is more branched and sprawling, with more densely hairy leaves and stinging hairs abundant on stems and both leaf surfaces. Leaves of the European variety are much broader and heart-shaped. Unlike the native stinging nettle, the European type is dioeceous, meaning its male and female flowers are found on separate plants. Small stinging nettle seedlings might be confused with mints, which also have opposite, serrated leaves and square stems, but no stinging hairs.

at http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecord.asp?id=210

sooo it appears to me,i am glad to say, that mine is the native one. And! attracted some butterflies not so native to the Yukon.

Thanks Christopher and Bruce

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