Some recent sightings…
Eldest offspring’s jalapeño plant was growing well and producing plenty of peppers until this big fellow showed up. Hornworms feed on a wide variety of solanaceous plants, so I’m keeping a close eye on my Brugmansia and tomato plants. On occasion, while prowling the garden at night with a headlamp, I have found adult moths visiting nocturnally fragrant Lilium formosanum and Crinum ‘Mrs. James Hendry’ flowers.
About a week ago, I noticed that something was cutting flaps in the leaves of my canna plants and stitching them shut with silk. Peeling the flaps open revealed the caterpillars of the Brazilian skipper. In late summer, my cannas are often infested with lesser canna leaf rollers (caterpillars of a nondescript moth, Geshna cannalis), but this is the first time I have seen greater leaf rollers. Brazilian skippers are tropical butterflies that sometimes stray to the NC piedmont,usually in late summer.
Unlike the greater canna leaf rollers, fall webworms are a familar late summer sight in my garden. They feed on a wide variety of hardwoods. This year, they’re on sweetgum and possumhaw. In previous years, I have found them on sourwood, black cherry, and American persimmon.