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Species #2 Eastern Comma & #3 Saw Greenbriar

Yay! Two new species for my Fifty Species Goal!

Things have been a bit slow since it's been freezing here, but fortunately I added two species this week, so I'm feeling a little more on track. (More imporantly, moths are beginning to congregate around the porch light, and that's usually a bonanza!)

Species #2: Eastern Comma


This butterfly showed up very early this year, before any of the others. I was afraid we'd lose them to the ice storms, but fortunately, they seem to have stuck around. The Eastern Comma is nearly identical to the Question Mark and I can tell the difference only by relative size (Commas are smaller) and our local Question Marks tend to have much darker hindwings. Question Marks are common visitors to the garden, being fond of damp earth/gravel/mulch and (sigh) dog poop. The Comma, however, is new.

Species #2: Saw Greenbriar

This pointy, stabby climbing vine is one of the vast Smilax clan--Smilax bona-nox, to be precise. It is currently infiltrating my tea camellia. I don't know how I feel about that. (Apparently they are super-duper edible with the new shoots and the tubers and all, but foraging is a little outside of my comfort zone.)

Smilax glauca was a known quantity in my garden, but S. bona-nox only showed up last fall, and I only got around to digging in and figuring out what it was today. So that's kinda neat!

See also: Species #1: Blue-Headed Vireo

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Man, six years since I spent a summer whacking my way through briars in Mississippi, and I still get a visceral, "ow ow ow" reaction to seeing Smilax. There were some days we came out of the woods looking like we'd lost fights with a bobcat.

There's a reason that Smilax and Smilodon have such similar names!!

(Actually, there isn't . . . but I'd like to think there would be.)

Ursula, this is your cue to get inspired to draw a sabertooth with a Smilax wreath or something ;)

Hooray for new species! And I love the Comma and Question Mark butterflies -- that is awesome!

-- A <3

I am so happy to live in a world where there are creatures called the Eastern Comma and the Question Mark. Thank you for informing me of this.

Honestly, the only reason I'm at all confident is size and the fact that ALL our local Question Marks have the super dark hindwing.

That, and...err...it flew wrong? Commas are zippier.

Don't underestimate the power of "It flies funny" in IDing a new species! The first time I IDed a Northern Harrier, I got it because it looked like a hawk but flew like an owl. I noticed the white rump patch after I noticed it flying "wrong."

Oh, definitely! My Parasitic Jaeger was a "That juvenile gull isn't flying right."

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I like a bit of purslane, especially the stems when they're fresh and crunchy. I think my favorite weed is purple clover. And lambs quarter. mmm.

I just had to check and now am astonished that there really are question mark butterflies! It's a weird world we live in.

Considering how things grow in your garden I can't help wondering what a plant that can normally grow 8 metres (according to Wiki) would achieve under your care.

In my long lost youth, my father bought a shrub that was supposed to grow to about 2 metres up and across. He planted it on a bed of rabbit manure, and the danged thing hauled up at about 7 metres high but was skinny as a rake.

I suspect Ursula's garden may have similar properties...

Those are edible??? They strangle EVERYTHING on my land. I have to carefully bushwhack them with a machete I bought specifically for those vines, sometimes lifting and sawing from underneath, because they grow rampantly over all of my juniper trees, the ground, heck I could take a picture right now of the backdrop to my gazebo and you would see nothing but a giant wall of them. I definitely did not know they produced tubers, or anything of the sort. Between them and my cacti infestation, I have myself a real party of death.

Huh; we called that stuff 'Cat Briar' where I grew up in NW Florida. It's hellish to yank out if it gets itself wound up in a fence.

When I was a kid, we used it as living barbed wire to screen off the areas in the woods we didn't want the adults or other groups of kids to get into. ;-)

Apparently the Houma people in Louisiana used saw greenbriar to treat UTIs and to make bread and cake. I don't know how that one worked...

Next season on KUEC: Foraging, the new frontier of cheap food.

"We eat it, so the wildlife doesn't have to."

Eat it! Eat it before it eats your camellia!

Is there, like, an entire serious of punctuation butterflies or something? Is there an umlaut butterfly? Because if so I really need to start a collection and breeding program.

The umlaut butterfly is into heavy metal.

Hahaha, true facts. They've added some wicked riffs to all of this pansy fluttering other butterflies do.

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