Plant ID forum: Another one from my neighbor's property

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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
Sep 10, 2015 9:46 PM CST
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[Last edited by mellielong - Dec 21, 2015 1:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Sep 10, 2015 9:58 PM CST
Melanie, how about Gomphrena serrata?
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
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mellielong
Sep 10, 2015 10:21 PM CST
Hmm..not sure. I think my plant might be a little taller and I don't see the yellow accents on the flowers. Still, that was one I had not looked at yet, so kudos!

Umm...I was looking at the ISB Atlas of Vascular Plants to form my opinion. It occurred to me I should check on our own Plant Database. But the picture there has pretty vivid pink-red flowers. Is that right?
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 10, 2015 10:51 PM CST
Is there any possibility it could be Alligator weed/Alternanthera philoxeroides? Shrug!
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Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Sep 10, 2015 11:02 PM CST
The photo listed here under Gomphrena serrata is a Gomphrena commonly called "Little Grapes" or “Airy Bachelor Buttons.” I've seen it listed under various species name. It doesn't look like the run-of-the-mill Gomphrena serrata. I truly have no clue which species the "Little Grapes" really is. Shrug!

The yellow "accents" are the actual flowers. The white parts are just bracts. If the head of bracts is still growing, then the flowers won't be blooming yet. Likewise, if the head of bracts is old then the flowers will have finished blooming and seeds will be developing. I see yellow flowers on your plants.

http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=43096
http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=GOSE

@Horntoad
Jay posted this:
The thread "wildflower galveston island" in Plant ID forum
[Last edited by Danita - Sep 10, 2015 11:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 11, 2015 12:02 AM CST
Maybe it's Gomphrena celosioides. Shrug!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Sep 11, 2015 12:18 AM CST
According to the USDA & the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Gomphrena celosioides is a synonym for Gomphrena serrata. That's why I didn't mention it. I make no claims to know if they are correct or not. Shrug!

Well, to add to the confusion...
The ITIS.gov website claims that Gomphrena celosioides is just a synonym for Gomphrena serrata.
http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic...
http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic...

However, the ITIS/Species2000 Catalogue of Life is showing them as separate species. Even ITIS is contradicting itself! http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/details/species/id/3920d0...
http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/details/species/id/401d7a...
[Last edited by Danita - Sep 11, 2015 12:40 AM (+)]
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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Sep 11, 2015 1:16 PM CST
Greene, Alligator Weed looks like it, but from what I read that's an aquatic plant and this is a pretty dry area. It did get wet with the flooding we had but that area is not consistently wet so that's one reason I was so confused. Give me a bit to look through all the links and thanks for the help! I'm going to go back out there again tomorrow so I can always look at it again.
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 11, 2015 1:27 PM CST
Thumbs up As long as the little critters are using the plant, it's a keeper!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Sep 11, 2015 1:55 PM CST
The only Lepidoptera species given on the NHM for Gomphrena (didn't get a result using species epithet) is Eumarozia malachitana. Tortrix moths are not very big, was the pupa small?

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/hostplants/search/deta...

http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges...

Some Lepidoptera species feed on a variety of plants so it could be something else, I can't enlarge your photos at the moment but this is a leaf roller and I think I can see white cocoons.. (can enlarge the 2nd pic now, not sure whether there's a pupa in there!)
[Last edited by JRsbugs - Sep 11, 2015 2:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Sep 11, 2015 2:03 PM CST
Alligator Weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is listed as a Florida Category II non-native invasive and found in much of the state:
http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Indu...
http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=1343

I lean toward Danita's ID of Gomphrena serrata. My Florida Wildflower book shows the common name "Arrasa Con Todo" which apparently translates from spanish to "Destroys Everything" Green Grin! but it also shows another often called name of "Prostrate Globe Amaranth". It's not a Fla. native but has become naturalized along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, inhabiting open, sandy sites and along roads and sidewalks. It also states that it's considered a nuisance weed in lawns and I believe I've seen it in my lawn in the past!
http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/photo.aspx?ID=7142
Found in much of the state: http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=1278

My Florida Wildflower book also shows two others Alternanthera flavescens (Chaff Flower) and Alternanthera maritima (Beach Alternanthera) but they seem to have different growth habits.
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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Sep 11, 2015 2:26 PM CST
The pupa is a little smaller than one of my Long-Tailed Skipper butterflies. It looks like it has a hole in it, but that's just an indentation.

Thumb of 2015-09-11/mellielong/1d7b3e

Lin, Chaff Flower was one I was looking at, too. I looked until I was like Blinking Confused
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Sep 11, 2015 2:35 PM CST
Okay, talking about pupa gave me an idea. I saw two moths yesterday and BAMONA identified them for me this morning. There was one I saw a ton of on my neighbor's property and they were quite large. It's called a Small Mocis (Mocis latipes). It mostly eats grasses and things like corn so that wasn't much help.

But I saw a smaller moth on my house so I looked up its host plant, too. It's called a Two-spotted Herpetogramma (Herpetogramma bipunctalis). And Wikipedia says it uses Alligator Flag (Alternanthera philoxeroides) as a host plant. Hmm...the plot thickens?

I'm going to do some research and see if there's something I can do or take a picture of to help distinguish. Like I just read Alligator Flag has hollow stems so I'll break a stem and see what's up.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Sep 11, 2015 2:43 PM CST
Duh, I just remembered I found a caterpillar on there and took its picture. I only brought in the pupa though. Here's the caterpillar. I wonder if BAMONA could ID it?

Thumb of 2015-09-11/mellielong/f45d14

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JRsbugs
Sep 11, 2015 2:59 PM CST
If the main host plant isn't available, the moth is likely to use another similar plant.

That pupa doesn't quite look like Lepidoptera. It reminds me more of diptera, maybe Tachinid which use Lepidoptera larvae as hosts.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=tachinid+fly+pupa&biw=1440...

The caterpillar might be identifiable, it has two black spots behind it's head.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Sep 11, 2015 3:24 PM CST
I sent it to BAMONA to see if they can ID it. I checked through my books and didn't see anything similar.
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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 12, 2015 6:23 PM CST
Here's the description of Alternanthera flavescens (Chaff Flower) from Encyclopedia of Life:
"Herbs, perennial, 6-15 dm. Stems ascending to spreading, often clambering, pubescent, glabrate. Leaves sessile; blade ovate to lanceolate or elliptic, 1.8-8 × 0.5-3 cm, herbaceous, apex long-acuminate or acute, sparsely strigose or glabrous. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, pedunculate; heads yellowish white, subglobose to cylindric, 0.9-2.5(-4) × 0.9-1 cm; bracts keeled, less than 1/2 as long as tepals. Flowers: tepals monomorphic, green, lanceolate, 3.4-4.7 mm, apex acute, villous, hairs not barbed; stamens 5; pseudostaminodes ligulate, margins laciniate. Utricles included within tepals, greenish yellow, ellipsoid, 2.5 mm, apex acute. Seeds ovoid, 1.2-1.3 mm."

Here's another link for that:
http://www.regionalconservation.org/beta/nfyn/plantdetail.as...
BTW, it says,
"Nectar plant for cassius blue (Leptotes cassius), great southern white (Ascia monuste), long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus), Schaus' swallowtail (Heraclides aristodemus) and other butterflies."

Here's yet more info. on it with photos:
http://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/joyweed.htm
It also says:
"If you're familiar with waterweeds of the US Southeast you may see a strong resemblance between Yellow Joyweed's flower head and those of Alligatorweed, Alternanthera philoxeroides, which back in 2003, writing from near Natchez, I described as #1 on Mississippi's list of the Ten Worst Invasive Weeds. Alligatorweed, however, forms dense floating mats on lakes and slow-moving streams. That's a long way from growing from a chink in a church's limestone walls."

Another link:
https://books.google.com/books?id=ai97pkgIH5MC&pg=PA137&lpg=...


These 2 links are for Alternanthera maritima:
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp037
http://eol.org/pages/585584/details
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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Sep 12, 2015 6:39 PM CST
I got rained out today, but I did get a long enough break to gather caterpillar food. I saw a similar plant growing near the front of my neighbor's property, but it was like a much smaller version. I thought about taking pictures of it, but I figured with my luck, it would actually be a completely different plant. So I'll go out tomorrow and take more pictures of the exact same plant. I'm confused enough as it is!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Sep 13, 2015 3:00 PM CST
Okay, here's lots more pictures. I did break off a stem and it wasn't hollow so I guess no Alligator Weed? Also, it's wet since it rained, but that part of the property usually drains pretty fast, especially as soon as the sun starts shining. I put my hands in some of the pictures on purpose so you could get a sense of size.


Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/b167fe Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/c3e5c1 Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/38806c
Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/6955a9 Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/392ae3 Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/88c62d
Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/b8f560 Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/488da0 Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/6e8636
Thumb of 2015-09-13/mellielong/19b9d7
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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Sep 15, 2015 5:13 PM CST
I'm piping in although admittedly, I didn't look at all of the links above here. I think it looks like Gomphrena serrata. I see you didn't notice any yellow centers in your flowers but I can see yellow in some of your first photos -This one and the one and the one before and after it.

Thumb of 2015-09-15/wildflowers/5b299e
and it looks just like this one -
http://regionalconservation.org/ircs/database/plants/PlantPa...


http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20p?see=I_TQBH1560&res=640
http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=43093
http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=GOSE

**Also meant to mention that a distinct feature of G. serrata is the acute leaves that are present in your plant. This is noted when comparing to G. celosioides, which has nearly obtuse leaves -- according to this site: https://sites.google.com/site/efloraofindia/species/a---l/a/...

Maybe I'm reading that wrong and you might look at G. celesioides, since you said your plant looks shorter??
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[Last edited by wildflowers - Sep 16, 2015 7:45 AM (+)]
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