Shrimp Plant Question?

Shrimp Plant photographed by Jeff Zablow

We have a lovely, healthy robust Shrimp Plant in our 303 Garden, here in Eatonton, Georgia, some 80 miles east of Atlanta. Virginia gifted it to us. An occasional Ruby Throated Hummingbird visits it, once in a while. No butterflies have been seen on it. Ellen Honeycutt? Jim Rodgers? Deb Marsh? Katy Wilson Ross? Virginia C Linch?

By contrast, today, August 16th, we’ve seen here: Tiger Swallowtails. American Snout, Cloudless Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, Spicebush Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange, Duskywings, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Several Species of Skippers (at least 6 species). Since butterflies come and go all day, my guess it that another 8 or more species have been here today, many when it was full sun and 97F.

Then there’s this Shrimp Plant, proudly producing large flowers, with zero butterflies seen? Curt Lehman?


3 thoughts on “Shrimp Plant Question?

  1. I assume we mean Justicia brandegeana. Thus far I have only recorded, from all sources I’ve yet consulted, of butterflies only Cloudless Sulphur as visiting its flowers. It seems fond of red flowers and seems one of the “lead butterflies” likely to be seen at “hummingbird flowers”. Other long-tongued butterflies occasionally visit flowers usually frequented by hummingbirds. “Context” means a lot … where there are an abundance of “butterfly flowers” certain favorites seem to rise to the top. Secondary flowers get more attention when pickings are slimmer. Desert plants sometimes get plenty of interest by default, because they are among few choices (or the only choice) available. One factor is the relative abundance of a certain type of plant in the area. Suitable plants also abundant are likely to get “tried” early in the butterfly’s flight time. Once they find one that “works for them”, especially if it is easy to find, they seem less likely to “try” others. Otherwise good flowers that are “rare” may simply go unsampled, especially if “suitable” flowers are abundantly available. At least, these are my impressions. It seems, even among among butterflies, that we have “regional cuisines”!


  2. I’ve seen Pipevine Swallowtails visit Shrimp Plant here in Pennsylvania but not much else. It’s more of a hummingbird plant here.


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